4th of July 2014 starts early on Capitol Hill

IMG_0875 IMG_0894Gun powder patriots and amateur pyrotechnicians have been hard at work already in this gateway to Capitol Hill summer. It’s probably only going to get louder leading up to next Friday’s July 4th holiday. And more irritating.

“From a standard of living — having kids scared, pets freaking out — it’s very rude and inconsiderate,” a Seattle Police spokesperson tells CHS. It’s also 100% illegal.

Possessing fireworks in the city is against the law. Firing them off? There’s another busted statute. But that hasn’t stopped a flurry of booming activity around Central Seattle in recent weeks. CHS gets nightly email and messages via Twitter about bangs and booms this time of year. It’s a larger, more dangerous nuisance for police. Earlier this week, CHS heard a very spooked East Precinct cop report possible gunfire near his location via police radio. His colleagues quickly assured that the bangs were fireworks.

The SPD spokesperson we talked to said the department this year will again ask citizens to try to use discretion in calling 911 about booms and bangs as the 4th of July approaches. Before you call, look out the window to see if there is a nearby disturbance. But even the spokesperson admitted there’s often no telltale sign that a bang was fireworks and not gunfire. With some of the ordinance a few of you have apparently armed yourself with this summer on Capitol Hill, it’s even more difficult to tell.

The stress adds up in a city dealing with what seems like a rising tide of gun violence. Still, the sizzle of a bottle rocket, or the pop of a firecracker — to many — is a sound of summer. If you’re going to indulge, consider your neighbors. Drop CHS a Tweet or shout, “Fireworks!” or something. Or maybe considering downgrading your arsenal. We’re told bang snaps or pop-its are completely legal. Same with party poppers. Better yet, visit these lovely places near Seattle where fireworks are legal. Or just wait for the pros to handle things on the big night.

Have fun, be safe and, if you’re in doubt, check in with @jseattle on Twitter. If it’s the middle of the night and nearly July 4th, we’re probably talking about fireworks. Happy Independence Day.

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11 thoughts on “4th of July 2014 starts early on Capitol Hill

  1. So the police don’t want us to report loud explosions? I’m not talking about little pops here and there, but the huge ones that set off car alarms and rattle windows. People in the CD also fire their guns off because no one can tell the difference with the quarter sticks of TNT being lit.

    • Call the non-emergency number. (206) 625-5011. I’ve called the last two nights in a row when morons are setting off fireworks, and they’re always very nice and helpful.

      If you think it’s gunshots, then definitely call 911.

  2. I don’t mind some amateur fireworks on the 4th, even though it is of course illegal. But loud explosions several weeks prior are just not acceptable. It’s a selfish and obnoxious thing to do, and I regret living in a neighborhood where some people do this without any regard for their neighbors. Shame on them!

  3. Every week or so there are [firework] explosions that wake me up at around 2:30-3:00 am. This is near Bellevue and Denny. It happened 2 nights in a row this week. It’s driving me crazy! I pray the cops do something.

  4. SERIOUSLY?!?! weeks before is just stupid. The people setting them off seem to think that between midnight and 3am on week nights is the perfect time to do this. Personally I hope they light themselves on fire. Asshats.

  5. Yeah, last night around 2:00 am or so someone set some off right below our window on top of the dumpster. Took me forever to get back to bed. It’s not cool.

  6. The alley outside my building (Crawford and Olive St.) is a hotbed for fireworks shenanigans. The most popular game is to set them off inside dumpsters, resulting in a sound not unlike a small bomb (yes, I’ve heard a real bomb, it really does sound similar). Last week I caught some fools trying this around 4 in the morning…tried to shoo them away but my efforts were met with threats and pointing fireworks directly at my window. Thankfully they decided not to light them but yeah, really scary.

    • If it was me, I would have called 911 instead of risking an aggressive action by those jerks. But I’m afraid the reality is that the police are not going to give such a call a very high priority.