Fireworks take a toll

The July 4 weekend left behind more than pyrotechnic memories, stressed pets and streets littered with fireworks confetti.

An explosion punched a gaping hole in a condominium wall south of Everett on Monday night.

A dozen people were arrested in connection with the sale of illegal fire

works and drugs at Boom City on the Tulalip Indian Reservation.

And at least 18 people were take to emergency rooms in Snohomish County with injuries.

Joni Pfeifer of south Everett returned from Lake Chelan on Tuesday morning to a 4-foot-by-4-foot hole punched through her second-story bathroom wall. The damage, believed caused by an illegal firework, occurred about 10:45 p.m. Monday in the 100 block of 124th Street SW.

“It’s pretty horrible,” Pfeifer said. “It’s like a complete hole through the bathroom.”

The mother of two teenage daughters said she often is in the bathroom at that time of night after yoga class.

The explosion occurred on the outside wall facing the sink. It shattered a mirror, sending shards of glass across her bathroom floor. Splintered debris from the wall showered the parking lot.

“I’m just glad I wasn’t standing there,” Pfeifer said. “I don’t feel angry. I feel thankful and very blessed.”

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the explosion, officials said.

On the Tulalip Indian Reservation, 12 people were arrested and four fireworks stands were shut down following an investigation involving the Tulalip Tribes Police Department’s Drug Task Force, the FBI and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The arrests between July 1 and 4 involved illegal fireworks and narcotics sales, said Carlos Echevarria, Tulalip deputy police chief.

Search warrants were served on homes, vehicles and shipping containers. Drugs seized included marijuana, heroin and prescription medications, Echevarria said. Also taken was nearly $10,000 in cash.

The haul of confiscated fireworks devices included M-80s, M-100s and M-500s.

Fireworks stand owners who followed the rules appeared to appreciate the enforcement crackdown, Echevarria said.

“We had several successful undercover operations,” Echevarria said.

A total of 18 people were admitted to Snohomish County hospitals with fireworks-related injuries Monday and in the early morning hours of Tuesday, hospital officials said.

A 21-year-old man lost a finger around 10 p.m. in a fireworks accident in the 5300 block of 161st Place SW north of Lynnwood. He was taken to a hospital.

A half-hour later, a man, 50, suffered injuries to an eye and face after lighting a mortar device in the 19800 block of Filbert Road, east of Lynnwood. He was taken to a Kirkland hospital.

Neither injury was considered life threatening, Snohomish County Fire District 1 spokeswoman Leslie Hynes said.

Most people hurt by fireworks were burned.

Six people were admitted to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett on Monday and early Tuesday with injuries from fireworks, spokeswoman Cheri Russum said.

Most involved burns to a hand, she said. One patient was sent to the trauma unit at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle because of the severity of the burns, Russum said.

Another person with an eye injury also was sent to Harborview, she said.

Last year, four people were admitted with fireworks-related injuries, all with minor burns, Russum said.

“This year was worse,” she said.

In Arlington, four people were brought to Cascade Valley Hospital with first- and second-degree burns from fireworks, spokeswoman Kelly Penny said. The injuries were caused by legal and illegal fireworks.

The tally was about the same as last year, Penny said.

At Valley General Hospital in Monroe, three people were brought in on the holiday with burns, spokeswoman Monica Sylte said. An adult was taken to Harborview for treatment of second- and third-degree burns and two children and were treated and released.

At Swedish Medical Center-Edmonds, five people were brought to the emergency room with burns, spokesman Steve Kaiser said. All the injuries were minor and the victims were treated and released, he said.

One of the injuries was to the hand of a person who was holding a firework, he said. The others were suffered by people standing close to fireworks when they were set off.

At Harborview Medical Center, 27 people were brought in with fireworks injuries over the three-day holiday weekend, spokeswoman Susan Gregg said. The total includes transfers from other hospitals.

At least one injury involved lost fingers, Gregg said.

“It’s a pretty common injury that comes in,” she said. Many of the people with severe hand injuries are young men, Gregg said.

The damage didn’t end on Independence Day.

Two portable toilets were destroyed Tuesday morning at McCollum Park south of Everett. The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating reports that teenagers were playing with fireworks in the area shortly before the early morning fires that caused about $10,000 damage.

Also Tuesday, the county fire marshal’s office was seeking a search warrant after a trailer containing what investigators believe were illegal fireworks was impounded Monday south of Everett. No arrests had been made as of Tuesday afternoon.

Fire marshals said they were grateful that it rained Sunday and last week, dampening roofs and reducing the risk of house fires.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, stevick@heraldnet.com.

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