First responders in Fort Worth are teaming up to crack down on people setting off fireworks illegally.
Dispatchers from the Fort Worth Fire and Fort Worth Police departments are working together out of the city's emergency operations center.[[290815791,C]]
Volunteers are manning the phones there and the calls get mapped to show where the biggest clusters are. That's where dispatchers will send units to respond.
It's the one time of the year that you'll see a police officer and a firefighter from the arson unit riding in the same car. They're running enforcement together so they can issue citations on the spot.
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NBC 5 joined the paired crews on patrol in an apartment complex off Pennsylvania Avenue where they often get fireworks calls. They'll ticket anyone they find setting them off.
Selling, possessing or setting off fireworks in Fort Worth is a Class C misdemeanor, carrying a fine of up to $2,000.
Last year, the Fort Worth Fire Department received more than 1,500 calls about fireworks going off between 8 p.m. on July 4 and 2 a.m. on July 5.
That distracts from the roughly 300 emergency calls the fire department already receives every day.
"Medical emergencies, car wrecks, fires, add to that on one day of the year an additional 1,500 calls," said Fort Worth Fire Captain Kyle Falkner. "We can't pull all those units out of service because they won't be able to answer the real emergencies. So this is why this is so critical that we get the word out and want people to realize that this is a completely preventable issue here."
Firefighters are especially concerned because of the dry conditions. They will be running the same paired patrols throughout the night on July Fourth.