BEACHWOOD – While doing their job on July 4, members of the Beachwood Volunteer Fire Department said they were threatened by residents when they responded to a house where fireworks were being set off. They were met with hostile, allegedly intoxicated people.
One resident told the volunteers their “jaws will be wired shut,” threatening physical violence. They also turned a garden hose on the firefighters and attempted to spray water into the command vehicle.
According to a statement made on the fire department’s social media page, the issue stemmed from a neighbor dispute about the fireworks.
“We understand neighbor issues and everyone’s frustrations the past several months. However, threatening volunteer firefighters and spraying water in our faces is unacceptable,” they said.
“We are not only your dedicated volunteers, but we are your friends and neighbors. It bothers us that here we are contemplating signing complaints against the people we serve, but we can’t ‘turn the cheek’ on this one,” they stated. “We can’t have people assault us or interfere with our official function by obstruction or physical intimidation.”
The fire department wanted to let residents know that they are not the “fun police” or “Karens,” but a group of volunteers who leave their homes to respond to emergencies.
“We are thankful to our supporters and very appreciative of those who were respectful to us Saturday night,” they said.
The fire department also answered calls for fires that were started by fireworks that night.
There is a real danger to people setting fireworks off. In Little Egg Harbor, a man suffered severe injuries when one went off in his hand. In Lacey, there was a marsh fire that damaged 1.5 acres.