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Officials: Alpena had safe Fourth of July

News Photo by Julie Riddle A spread-out crowd at Starlite Beach on Saturday followed social distancing rules during a safe July Fourth weekend in Alpena, officials say.

ALPENA — Alpena was well-behaved over the Fourth of July weekend, according to local firefighting personnel.

No calls to put out fires were received by the Alpena Fire Department on Friday or Saturday, Fire Chief Bill Forbush reported, and no paramedics were needed to attend to fireworks-related injuries.

At Mich-e-ke-wis Park and Starlite Beach, often crowded on the holiday, fewer people gathered than most years, Forbush said, and those in attendance left plenty of room for social distancing.

Some people watched the fireworks from their cars, and onlookers seemed to be taking restrictions seriously, he reported.

“They did a nice job,” Forbush said. “The community really came together.”

Police did receive some complaints from residents about neighbors shooting off fireworks, Forbush said. Representatives of the Alpena Police Department could not be reached for comment.

Despite dry weather and many people eager to celebrate the holiday, no fireworks-related emergencies were called in to the Alpena Township Fire Department over the weekend, Alpena Township Fire Chief Dave Robbins said.

Extra crew members from the Alpena Fire Department were called in to work on Saturday to be ready for any emergencies.

Sixteen department staff, or about two-thirds of the department, were ready to be called into action, stationed either at the Public Safety Facility or at a joint fire/police command center at Mich-e-ke-wis park. Several paramedics were stationed among the crowd at Starlite Beach on all-terrain vehicles.

“Had things gone wrong, we were more than prepared to cover it,” Forbush said.

Julie Riddle can be reached at 989-358-5693, jriddle@thealpenanews.com or on Twitter @jriddleX.

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