Illegal fireworks in the Las Vegas Valley » Which neighborhoods are the most profitable?

Every year, Dale Porray sits at home on the 4th of July, worried that overhead fireworks fired nearby could set something on fire.

He logs into Clark County’s ISpyFirework site every holiday and logs the noise, but he fears nothing will be done with the complaints.

“If you go out on the far end of West Charleston, to Costco on July 4, from evening, dusk, until well after midnight, there’s nothing but airy bursts and big flowers,” Porray said. “I’ve lived in Las Vegas since 1956. It’s gotten worse and worse every year.”

Residents are encouraged not to call local police, but the Metropolitan Police Department received more than twice as many complaints about fireworks on Independence Day as on New Year’s Eve last year , according to data from the department.

Meanwhile, Clark County data from 2019 to 2021 analyzed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal showed Independence Day fireworks sparked more than 61,000 complaints over three years in the days surrounding on July 4, including nearly 19,000 last year.

Each year, the county’s ISpyFireworks website continued to receive hundreds of complaints past midnight and into the pre-dawn hours of the following day. Residents themselves report illegal fireworks near their homes.

Residents across the valley reported fireworks, but some neighborhoods stood out with consistently more reports than others.

Over 3,600 complaints have been registered in ZIP Code 89139 in three years. The South Valley neighborhood includes large tracts of undeveloped land and is near the intersection of the 215 Beltway and Interstate 15.

Jan Solas, whose home backs onto an open desert area near South Decatur Boulevard, said she could hear all the way to the Green Valley Ranch fireworks display. In the 17 years she lived in the area, she did not recall any fires or injuries from illegal fireworks.

“It’s a day of celebration,” Solas said, defending those who can set off illegal fireworks. “There are kids everywhere and they are having a great time.”

Clark County only allows “safe and sound” fireworks, which do not shoot into the air when they ignite or explode, and no fireworks are allowed after midnight on the 4th July. Safe and healthy fireworks included sparklers, fountains, firecrackers, and fireworks that typically explode on the ground, not in the air.

More than 100 government-approved fireworks displays opened on Tuesday and will remain in operation over the holiday.

“Every year there is an injury”

But illegal fireworks remained a problem, leading the county to launch the “You Light It, We Write It” ticketing campaign in 2018. Data was not immediately available on the number of tickets issued by the county since the launch of the campaign.

Clark County Fire Department Inspector Martin Casillas was among dozens of inspectors checking Safe and Sane fireworks stands on Tuesday for fire extinguishers and the space between flammable objects like wires , cars and extension cords.

Casillas will also respond to emergency calls over the holidays and urged residents to be safe during what will be a busy night for firefighters.

“Every year we have a house fire and every year there is an injury,” he said. “We want to ensure and limit the number of situations caused by fireworks. As it stands, it’s going to be a busy night, and it will be even busier if we continue with illegal fireworks. »

In 2019, the Las Vegas Fire Department reported 76 outdoor fires between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on July 4. A miner was hospitalized for smoke inhalation.

Clark County Fire Chief John Steinbeck said calls to his department increased tenfold over the holiday weekend. Firefighters are battling garage and palm tree fires on the fourth and responding to impaired driving crashes that result in injuries throughout the weekend.

“It’s not like people are blowing their fingers off all night, but we have cases where people have certainly been seriously injured with illegal fireworks,” he warned.

Although no one has been seriously injured by fireworks locally for at least two years, last month in Washoe County a man suffered a punctured lung and another suffered a firework illegal that exploded in his hand, causing “major deformities”, officials said.

Steinbeck urged residents to avoid nearby illegal fireworks vendors on tribal reservations, Nye County and neighboring states for several reasons.

“They are illegal due to the risk of fire, injury, noise, disturbing the peace, the stress it puts on people with PTSD, anxiety and the animals being continually stressed by it” , did he declare. “We just want you not to buy illegal fireworks and use them at all. We encourage you to go to the shows and enjoy the 4th.

The second highest volume of reports came from 89031, a northern Las Vegas neighborhood near Craig Ranch Regional Park.

Marie Pickrem has lived in the zip code for 30 years. She said her children and grandchildren visit her every July 4 and enjoy the fireworks nearby.

“Next to us is a lot, but they’re good neighbors so we would never report them,” she said.

Seth Havely said the streets near his home at 89031 were much quieter than his former home in Southern California. He called the fireworks “background noise” and said he would never report a neighbor.

“I don’t mess with them; they don’t mess with me,” he said.

Tameka Flores said many of her neighbors in the 89031 area spent over $2,000 at the Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza to buy fireworks.

She said she had never seen a fire in the area and would discourage anyone from calling emergency services because of illegal fireworks.

“I’d rather see them deal with DUIs or violent crimes than come in for a fireworks show,” she said.

North Las Vegas police officer Alex Cuevas said calling the police to report fireworks doesn’t always result in an officer appearing, but if enough people call from a certain area, agents will come out.

“It can interfere with emergency response if there is a real emergency,” he said.

Metropolitan Police Department call logs showed around 950 people were called to report fireworks from July 2 to July 7, 2021. The number of calls has been steadily declining since 2018, when more than 1,600 people reported the noise. The department declined to comment.

A bill approved in the last legislative session increased the fine to at least $500 for illegal fireworks lit in Clark County. Large stocks can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

Contact Sabrina Schnur at [email protected] or 702-383-0278. Follow @sabrina_schnur on Twitter. Investigative reporter Michael Scott Davidson contributed to this story.

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