Two Men Severely Injured by Fireworks in Park Forest. Dispatchers Issue Warning

911 from SouthCom Dispatch
Park Forest Police and SouthCom Dispatch Center advise extreme caution over the 4th of July weekend. (Graphic: SouthCom)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Two men were severely injured by fireworks Tuesday, Park Forest police said in a statement.

According to police, on Tuesday, June 29, 2021, Park Forest police and paramedics were dispatched to a home in the 100 block of Walnut Street for a report of injuries as a result of a fireworks explosion.

The call came in at approximately 6:20 p.m.

A 31-year-old Park Forest man suffered severe injuries to his left hand and injuries to his leg, according to police. He was ultimately transported to Stroger Hospital.

Police reminded residents of the law in the statement, “All fireworks containing explosive compounds are illegal in Park Forest.”

“We hope for a quick recovery for both injured men,” police said in the statement.

No charges were immediately announced as the incident remains under investigation, police said.

SouthCom Dispatchers Advise Caution

Dispatchers at SouthCom Dispatch Center in Matteson issued a statement advising extreme caution as we approach the 4th of July weekend. SouthCom serves Park Forest, Richton Park, Olympia Fields, and Matteson.

“As we approach the July 4th weekend we are preparing for the increased call volume due to fireworks,” dispatchers said in a statement.

SouthCom will have extra staffing over the weekend due to the expected increase in emergency calls. Last year the call volume to the center quadrupled over the holiday weekend, according to dispatchers.

“We need your help in streamlining the fireworks complaints and we ask that you use the non emergency number when calling in a complaint about fireworks,” dispatchers said.

The non emergency number to SouthCom is (708) 748-5131.

The non-emergency number for Park Forest Police is (708) 748-4700. This number is also answered by SouthCom.

If there is an emergency related to fireworks please use 911.

“Fireworks are illegal in the state of Illinois, and this [statement] is in no way meant to dissuade anyone from calling in a fireworks complaint,” dispatchers said. “We just ask that you follow these simple tips when calling them in.”

The statement continued with a list of items residents should consider:

  1. Have a location to provide for the fireworks complaint. We will have numerous complaints from all four towns that we dispatch for (Richton Park, Olympia Fields, Park Forest and Matteson). Just saying the town name will not be specific enough for us to provide any assistance. If you do not know exactly where they are coming from, but they are in the area that you live, you can provide your own address, block number/street or an intersection. When we document the complaint we need a verifiable address to put into the call queue.
  2. Use the non emergency number when calling in a fireworks complaint. During the 4th we will still be getting 911 calls for ambulances, violent crime and other extreme emergencies. We prioritize answering those calls first, and we don’t want to delay answering those emergencies.
  3. We know that it is frustrating and we know sometimes it can feel like nothing is being done. SouthCom documents and dispatches officers for every fireworks complaint that we receive. With that being said, it is extremely difficult for officers to catch everyone in the act, and the sheer number of offenders make it difficult to catch everyone. If you have called and fireworks are still being set off in your area it doesn’t mean that the officers are not coming. There are just numerous fireworks complaints in addition to the other incidents that the officers will be dealing with over the weekend.

“We hope everyone has a safe and joyous holiday, and as always if you need us we are here at 911,” SouthCom Dispatch Center’s statement concluded.