Stepped Up Security Proves Successful With Many ConfiscationsBy Amy Wadas

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The EQT Flashes of Freedom Fireworks produced by Starfire Corporation put on quite the show this year.

But before the fireworks spectacular, the crowd got to dance to some local bands, eat good food and watch entertainers, like a performer juggling in stilts.

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A C-130 from the United States Air Force flew high in the sky during the national anthem, and kids had their own fun at Kids Zone, playing games and getting their faces painted.

But for some kids…

“Seeing fireworks and spending time with my family,” said Raymur McClinton.

This was the best part of all!

A family from Youngstown enjoyed the festivities for the first time. They even pitched a tent to stay cool.

“Let’s just say we go all out,” Aaron Nasser said. “It’s a sunny day. Got to protect yourself.”

And protecting the pets is important, too.

“Extra water and a blanket to cool his feet off,” said Shannon Williams.

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Bags were checked at Point State Park for a second year in a row.

It was about this time last year when a fight broke out near the Wood Street T station and four people were shot.

The city stepped up security this year to make sure something like that doesn’t happen again.

“It’s good to make sure everyone is safe,” Ron Finnigan said. “I want to be safe. Families and kids should be safe.”

Large Public Works vehicles were used to block area streets to prevent a driver from plowing into the crowd. Extra patrols were deployed throughout the city.

“Our number one priority is safety over everything,” event director Derek Weber said. “We spend months sitting down with city and public safety police, EMS to ensure that’s going to happen.”

“You can’t be too careful nowadays with a place like this and so many people. You never know what could happen,” Napper said.

There’s proof the security checkpoint worked. Security personnel said they confiscated fireworks, knives, mace, tasers and a BB Gun. They said a juvenile had a BB Gun in his bag and threw it into the bushes so he could get through security, but police noticed what he was doing and took care of the situation.

Pittsburgh Public Safety officials said they did have to break up one fight by Fifth and Wood Street downtown. They also said a juvenile with a warrant was spotted by a juvenile probation officer and was arrested.

Six people were transported to local hospitals from Point State Park for mostly heat-related issues.

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