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 Police cruisers and fire trucks drive down 14 Mile Road in Clawson July 4. First responders quietly organized a mini parade in lieu of Clawson’s annual Fourth of July parade, which was canceled due to COVID-19.

Police cruisers and fire trucks drive down 14 Mile Road in Clawson July 4. First responders quietly organized a mini parade in lieu of Clawson’s annual Fourth of July parade, which was canceled due to COVID-19.

Photos provided by the Clawson Fire Department


Calls for service significantly down during Fourth of July

Clawson first responders organize small parade, livestream it

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published July 9, 2020

 Four fire trucks and four police vehicles make their way down 14 Mile Road in Clawson the morning of July 4. City officials livestreamed the event on Facebook to bring smiles to residents’ faces.

Four fire trucks and four police vehicles make their way down 14 Mile Road in Clawson the morning of July 4. City officials livestreamed the event on Facebook to bring smiles to residents’ faces.

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CLAWSON/ROYAL OAK — Both Clawson and Royal Oak first responders reported that calls for service significantly decreased during the Fourth of July weekend.

While residential fireworks exponentially increased, state law allowed for consumer-grade fireworks to be ignited on personal property from 11 a.m. to 11:45 p.m. June 29-July 4.

“We did have a few random calls for fireworks going off at 2, 3, 4 in the morning, but all in all, most people followed the rules and were done by 11:45,” Clawson Police Chief Scott Sarvello said. “It wasn’t just fireworks — all calls for service were down.”

He attributed the decrease to the fact that Clawson canceled all of its Fourth of July activities this summer due to COVID-19.

Because there were no major activities at the park or the parade, there were fewer people out walking and potentially causing disorderly issues, as well as fewer parked vehicles on streets potentially resulting in clipped mirrors or blocked sidewalks and driveways.

“People in town were at their houses, they had barbecues and watched fireworks,” Sarvello said. “I would say it was a successful Fourth of July, although it was way different than we’re used to. I’m pretty sure 2021 will be back to normal.”

Prior to the holiday, Sarvello said he proposed the idea of a small July 4 parade of police and fire vehicles along 14 Mile Road to Fire Chief Troy Engel, and that the Fire Department was on board.

“We had to keep it quiet because Clawson people love the Fourth of July and they would have packed 14 Mile to see the parade,” he said. “We set it up, and (interim City Manager Lori Fisher) came out and she livestreamed it on Facebook.”

Sarvello said that since there were no parades this year, the mini parade was a way to put a smile on people’s faces and bring some sense of normalcy amid the pandemic. He said the Facebook video received a “ton of positive responses.”

“Some people were walking, of course, because it was a nice day, and they waved and gave us thumbs-up. People in cars traveling westbound on 14 Mile completely stopped and were waving and smiling,” he said. “Some business owners came out and gave us a wave.”

Engel said the Fire Department did not have a single fire call the Fourth of July weekend. Although he had heard on social media that some neighbors had set their grass on fire, they were able to put it out without firefighters’ help.

“I was really surprised. I expected to be running around like crazy,” he said. “There were a lot of amateur fireworks shows that tried to take the place of the professionals. I could see some fireworks from my house that I’m pretty sure did not fall into the state guidelines. It was all over the city.” 

Engel, who graduated from Clawson High School in 1985 and has spent most of his life in the city except for some time in the service, said the cancellation of the city’s annual Fourth of July parade was sad.

“The mood around the city was just kind of bummed out and sad and kind of missing it,” he said. “But it is what it is. This virus doesn’t fight fair, so you can’t take any chances.”

Royal Oak Assistant Fire Chief Jim Cook said the department had 44 runs in the three-day window surrounding July 4 compared to 80 runs in the same three-day window last year, during which firefighters extinguished a small building fire.

“It was very non-eventful,” Cook said. “Around my house, I’ve never seen so many fireworks, but by midnight, it was all pretty much done.”

Lt. Al Carter, of the Royal Oak Police Department, said police received 24 complaints for the July 4 weekend period compared to 17 last year, when the holiday fell on a Thursday.

“I was glad everybody cooperated with participating in a nice, safe Fourth of July, considering the historical COVID-19 situation,” Carter said. “I don’t think a lot of people were actually gathering.”

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