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Wichita Fire Chief Ron Blackwell said there were 745 complaints about fireworks during the Fourth of July season this year. That compares to over 1,000 complaints in 2011, but Blackwell said there were more fires and injuries.
Blackwell presented a report to the Wichita City Council Tuesday for the period from June 27 to July 5. He said Wichita firefighters responded to seven structure fires that caused a property loss of $180,000. There were four structure fires last year.
Blackwell said there were also 33 grass fires and outdoor fires this year, including a fire that caused significant damage to playground equipment at Woodman Elementary School.
He said injuries appear to be increasing. There were 70 fireworks-related injuries last year. He said at least 69 injuries have been reported this year, but information is still being gathered. He said the injuries involved people from 7 to 71 years old.
A fireworks hotline set up by Wichita and Sedgwick County received 377 fireworks complaints. The line was open from the afternoon of July 4 into the morning of July 5. It kept 911 open for emergency calls.