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Fourth Observed Quietly In Community
Traffic was heavy in and around the parks - McHenry Recreation and Jacob Myers - in the Escalon area, but other than filling those to capacity, the long Fourth of July holiday weekend passed quietly in the region.

With the actual July 4 date falling on a Saturday, many people also had Friday off to observe the holiday, making for a four-day weekend. And while officials were bracing for a hectic pace, the anticipated high volume of calls just wasn't there.

"Unbelievably quiet," Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Terry Pinheiro said.

Pinheiro's team, which was on duty for July 4, had no calls for fireworks related incidents, auto accidents and the like.

"I've got to think it's somewhat economy driven," Pinheiro said of the lull in activity. "I would also hope that people are starting to be wiser when it comes to using illegal fireworks.

"We heard a lot of explosions and saw some aerial fireworks, but not near the extent that we have in years past."

Pinheiro said with minimal staffing on for the holiday, the crew did a little bit of checking around the area for illegal fireworks, but primarily stayed at the firehouse.

"We're obviously centrally located," Pinheiro said of preferring to stay in the downtown location to respond to calls rather than be out in the rural area on patrol. "We went out a little in the early afternoon."

Even the checks by the fire department didn't turn up any use of illegal fireworks.

Escalon Police did record a handful of calls regarding the possible use of illegal fireworks the evening of July 4, but there were no arrests made in any of the cases. The city also had no driving under the influence arrests over the long holiday period.

"We saw less illegal fireworks, just a more subdued atmosphere and people staying at home," said Escalon Police Chief Doug Dunford. "I think the economy had a large part in it, everyone was just staying home and enjoying family ... there's still some uncertainty (about the economy)."

Most of the complaints that came in were received Saturday night, July 4 between 8:45 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Officers checked out reports of aerial fireworks in the area of Silverwood and Narcissus, Ribier and First, Sophie and Judith, and in the area of Burgundy Drive. None of them ended in arrests and there were no problems with fires being sparked by wayward fireworks.

"We did have extra patrols out, checking for DUIs," added Dunford, noting that no arrests were made for that offense over the long weekend in the local area either, adding to the overall quiet passing of the holiday.