Portland police respond to 88 illegal fireworks calls on the Fourth of July

Posted July 05, 2012, at 2:21 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — With thunderstorms forcing the postponement of Portland’s Fourth of July fireworks display, police records show many in the city took the holiday tradition into their own hands, despite the fact that public use of fireworks remains illegal in Maine’s largest city.

Although fireworks became legal statewide on Jan. 1, Portland was among the municipalities to implement local bans on the celebratory explosives.

Nonetheless, the Portland Police Department responded to 88 fireworks calls on Wednesday. Of those, 52 came after 8:45 p.m., which was approximately when the city announced the fireworks would be postponed until Thursday night because of the bad weather.

A call placed to the Portland Police Department was not returned immediately.

Maine Fire Marshal Joe Thomas said Thursday he’s pleased with the small number of fireworks-related incidents statewide, but said he expects people will be setting them off through the rest of the week.

Thomas says he’s only aware of one major incident on the Fourth of July — a Standish man modified some fireworks, which went off in his face because of a short fuse.

Earlier in the week, a Sabattus man was injured when he used a torch to dry out a wet mortar-style rocket, and kids playing with sparklers caused an apartment building fire in Portland.

Thomas says that all three incidents involved people using fireworks in ways that they were not intended to be used.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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