Emergency officials celebrate dull holiday
SUMMIT COUNTY – Lake Dillon Fire Chief Francis Winston was bored Thursday. So were the firefighters on duty with him.
“We were bored to death, and I loved it,” Winston said. “We had a very successful day. Nothing happened.”
Reports from officials countywide were much the same.
“It was blissfully quiet,” said Silverthorne police spokeswoman Verna Pottle. “We had one DWAI (driving while ability impaired), no fireworks complaints, no accidents. Just a nice, quiet day.”
“It was very calm,” said Sheriff Joe Morales. “We are extremely pleased.”
Local law enforcement had geared up for a potentially difficult day. More than double the usual number of sheriff’s deputies were on duty Thursday, anticipating enforcement of a strict countywide ban on fires and fireworks.
Only one person was arrested on a fireworks violation. Jason Gutbrod, 23, of Breckenridge, was taken to jail on charges of reckless endangerment and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana after lobbing a lit firecracker at a Baldy Mountain Townhomes resident.
“We had a lot of cars out, and we started sending some of our cars home at about midnight,” Morales said. “We had a few DUIs, a couple of minor disturbances, but there weren’t any more calls than on an average evening.”
Morales credited local residents and visitors for keeping the holiday uneventful.
“It was great to see everyone – locals and visitors both – being respectful of the situation at hand, obviously understanding the need to cooperate and minimize the potential of any additional fires,” the sheriff said. “We were on high alert. There were a lot of people in the county (Thursday), and it’s a relief to get through the Fourth.”
“I think the community is to be congratulated for their support and being aware,” he said. “I think people have clearly demonstrated they’re being pretty smart about it. I would expect that mentality and attitude to continue.”
Morales acknowledged the holiday weekend isn’t over yet and said the sheriff’s office still is conducting saturation patrols for drunken drivers. Nevertheless, he feels the day with the most potential for harm is behind him.
“The most celebratory night of the year, even more than New Year’s Eve, was a great success,” he said.
Jane Reuter can be reached at 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at email@example.com
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