by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--No one is more thankful than local firefighters.
Folks who live outside city limits are usually primed and ready to celebrate 4th of July with their own fireworks. Sunday night, however, was a totally different story. That goes for all of Odessa and Ector County.
"That is very unusual. Normally we receive numerous firework complaints and a lot of citations are written. This year, thankfully, we received very few complaints," Cpl. Sherrie Carruth, with the Odessa Police Department, said.
Odessa Police, firefighters and volunteer firefighters are breathing a big sigh of relief. On a holiday weekend that normally has phones ringing off the hook, complaint calls were almost non-existent.
According to Carruth, "You get to the point where you just stop counting them. But, you receive upwards of 50 calls or more. For the whole weekend, we only received 13. Then, (last night), July 4th, from midnight to eight this (Monday) morning, we only received six."
Even though the final numbers have to be crunched, the news gets better.
"From what I can see, from our log, we didn't show any citations were written," Carruth added.
The fact that the 4th went off without incident, shows that residents realized how dry and desperate conditions really are, they heeded the warnings and took the matter well to heart.
"We really appreciate that and I know that our volunteer firefighters appreciate that because they were really being pushed to their max," Carruth explained.
According to Odessa Fire Marshal, Detra White, "We had a very small number that did have some fireworks and the neighbors did help us out, a little bit, on trying to locate. So, we really commend the citizens of this area for avoiding any of the fireworks."
Firefighters have been burning the candle at both ends this fire season. A chance to sit back and take it easy for a while, was a welcome change.
"I think the community, as a whole, recognizes how much work and how much stress has been put on our firefighters, both the paid and the volunteer departments, in our entire area," White said.
City, county and volunteer officials are grateful to Ector County and Odessa residents for pulling together and finding other ways to celebrate the 4th.
"I do not recall a time when it has been this quiet. We had a good weekend. The public display went well," White said.
"The fireworks show, the Fandango put on, was awesome. So, it wasn't like there was totally nothing to do," Carruth concluded.
Officials want to remind everyone that burn bans are still in effect in your respective counties and you are asked to observe them. Until we get some significant rainfall, conditions are more than perfect for wildfires.