The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

July 4, 2014

Conneaut is bracing for big holiday crowd

A little patience will confine fireworks show to the skies, says police chief

CONNEAUT — Police in Conneaut are bracing for big crowds — and little patience — at Saturday night’s fireworks display at the lakefront, said Chief Charles Burlingham.

Nearly every police officer on the roster, 14 in all, will be on the job to help fireworks spectators safely negotiate city streets after the extravaganza, Burlingham said. “Every single officer (except one on his honeymoon) will be working,” he said.

Officers are bracing for a lot of short fuses, and we’re not talking the ones on skyrockets. Tempers can flare when thousands of people, squeezed into a relatively small space, all want to get home at the same time.

“Many times I’ve been told (expletive deleted) by drivers while directing traffic,” Burlingham said.

Culprits generally escape attention because officers can’t desert their posts, he said.

Police will be directing traffic at key intersections across town — even those far removed from Township Park, where the fireworks will be launched. “We’ll be handling traffic all the way to Main and State streets (in the downtown district),” Burlingham said.

A little patience and understanding will help alleviate frustration and keep road rage incidents to a minimum, the chief said. “Don’t be in hurry to get out of there,” he said.

The display begins at 10 p.m. Saturday at Township Park, situation along the Lake Erie shore. The weather forecast for Saturday evening  — mostly clear skies and temperatures around 60 degrees — could lure more people to the show.

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