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Fireworks light up West Fargo: No injuries reported on first Fourth with legal fireworks

Haylee and Dylan Brown look over a collection of fireworks Friday in West Fargo. Dave Wallis / The Forum1 / 2
Haylee Brown steps back after igniting some fireworks while people watch from behind. Dave Wallis / The Forum2 / 2

WEST FARGO – Residents here didn’t exactly have a quiet Fourth of July, but it seems they managed to stay safe.

After city officials legalized the use of fireworks on Independence Day in West Fargo, police responded to only one small grass fire Friday and didn’t get reports of any injuries as of 10 p.m.

“It’s been quiet,” said Officer Tyler Williams.

Though he didn’t know what caused the grass fire outside Triumph Lutheran Brethren Church at the intersection of Sheyenne Street and 38th Avenue West, Williams said it didn’t cause any injuries.

The holiday was similarly low-key in Moorhead, where all but the safest of fireworks are banned, and Fargo, which does not allow any fireworks within city limits.

Moorhead police had no reports of fires or firework-related injuries as of about 9 p.m., said Sgt. Scott Kostohryz.

And Fargo police Sgt. Shawn Gamradt said the department hadn’t heard of any fires or injuries either, adding that it had been “a pretty quiet night” at about 10 p.m.

“That’s where we’re hoping it stays,” Gamradt said.

West Fargo officials passed an ordinance in March allowing residents ages 12 or older to set off fireworks until 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and until midnight on the Fourth of July.

Some city residents said that law should have come much sooner.

“We should have had it a long time ago,” said Kevin Brown. “Everybody lights off fireworks anyway on the Fourth.”

Brown’s family had a small trove of fireworks they worked through on Friday night. Crackles and pops from other celebrations echoed around their neighborhood.

At one point, Dylan Brown set a round, green firework on the sidewalk. No one knew exactly what it was designed to do, but they thought it would just emit smoke.

The firework exploded into a shower of sparks, and Dylan Brown walked briskly away.

“That’s not smoke!” he said.

West Fargo police responded to 58 fireworks complaints last July Fourth, prompting them to propose the new law.

That law has been good for business at the Memory Fireworks stand on the Red River Fairgrounds, said Samantha Myers.

“It’s been a good year,” said Myers, who’s sold fireworks for 12 years.

About 40 people were browsing the Memory stand at 3 p.m. Friday.

“This is very slow compared to yesterday,” Myers said. “We’ve had it so the aisles are packed.”

Glen Cajobe and his son Joseph picked up a few small things at the stand. Glen Cajobe said he’s glad West Fargo allowed fireworks this year.

“Now we don’t have to light it and run away from the cops,” he said with a laugh.