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Fireworks blamed for a number of South End fires

Fireworks were blamed for more than a dozen grass, brush and beach fires on South Whidbey during the tinder-dry Fourth of July weekend, Island County Fire District 3 officials said Monday.

There was no structural damage and no injuries were reported in the fires, said Fire District 3 Assistant Chief Paul Busch.

He said the district received 64 calls between Friday morning and Monday morning. He said that at one point Saturday evening, all six district stations were out on calls.

“It was one of the busiest Fourth of July weekends ever,” Busch said. “And it was one of the driest Fourths I can remember.”

Of the fires believed started by fireworks, 90 percent were caused by the illegal variety, he said.

Fires were reported at Bayview’s off-leash dog park and near Bayview Center, at Double Bluff beach, along Maxwelton Road, and at Possession Point, East Harbor Road and Honeymoon Bay Road.

Busch said the fire at Honeymoon Bay Road was called in Saturday evening by a volunteer firefighter returning home from another call.

Busch said most of the fires were reported quickly, so charred areas were kept to a minimum. “We had a good response,” he said.

The Friday afternoon fire at Marguerite Brons Memorial Park for dogs scorched about 75 square feet of trees, stumps and grass, firefighters said.

Busch said the largest burned area was the one near Sebo’s Fix-It Center at Bayview on Saturday evening.

He said the beach fires were mostly caused by fireworks and campfires that had spread to driftwood logs, but all the fires were accessible to district equipment.

Busch reminded that a countywide burn ban remains in effect.

The Island County Sheriff’s Office also received a large number of calls about fireworks over the holiday weekend. Residents across the South End called to report illegal fireworks being used on residential properties and public beaches, according to dispatch records provided by the county.

Meanwhile, two people sought fireworks-related emergency-room treatment at Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville during the weekend, said Trish Rose, hospital spokeswoman.

An 8-year-old boy was treated for a burned hand, and a 38-year-old man was treated for a shoulder burn, Rose said.

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