The Ocean Shores Fire Department had a busy July 4th holiday period, extended through the weekend with the actual holiday falling on Thursday. The good news was that none of the fire calls involved any major blaze in the dunes.
This year, the traditional two days of fireworks on the beach, July 3 and 4, and the corresponding influx of visitors throughout the city, produced 23 EMS calls and 14 fire calls. Last year, the numbers were 19 aid calls and only six fire-related calls. For the period of Wednesday, July 3 through Sunday July 7, there was a total of 56 EMS calls and 23 fire calls, which included eight dunes fires, four structure fires and three surf rescue calls.
The OSFD geared up by adding 18 firefighters from other departments, to nearly double their ranks to 37 for July 3 and 4. Five extras stayed Friday and three Saturday. The biggest fire was the same as last year: a pile of trash bags at one of the beach approaches caught fire in the early hours of July 5.
Those working the beach reported they were generally met with cooperation as they employed friendly, gentle persuasion and offered helping hands to keep hundreds of campfires at least 100 feet west of the dunes.
As he did last year, Ocean Shores resident Larry Comparone coordinated an army of volunteers, 32 this year, which gave away 4,000 trash bags at five local beach approaches.
Nick Bird, the city’s public works director, said the holiday produced 20.71 tons of trash on the beach, the most since the massive heap of 72.7 tons that came in 2015, the last time the Fourth fell on a Saturday. Last year the city hauled away 15.5 tons.