FIREWORKS

Fireworks explode during the HEB All American Fun Festival at Miller Park in Temple on Thursday.

John and Lisa Lunkwicz had a chaotic Fourth of July as crowds gathered for evening fireworks at Miller Park.

The north Temple couple said houses on West Virginia Avenue had cars blocking driveways and other issues Thursday night during the annual H-E-B All American Fourth of July Family Fun Fest.

Their front yard was littered with beer bottles, and illegal fireworks exploded near their backyard.

John Lunkwicz described those overseeing the parking of festival goers as indifferent to the rights and wishes of residents who live near the park by allowing some motorists to park in front of residential driveways. Others parked on their grass, he said.

“(There was) one person who was performing ‘traffic control,’” said Lunkwicz, a Vietnam veteran who served as the state commander for the Military Order of the Purple Heart. “When there was an issue with someone parking right in front of a neighbor’s driveway (a parking attendant) shouted from her cart, ‘Used to be we just let them park in your driveway.’”

The couple said they wished that the city had discussions with residents who live near the park. They also said there appeared to be a lack of a police presence in the surrounding neighborhood to deal with illegal fireworks and parking conditions.

While the Temple Police Department was not able to confirm any specifics about incidents from the Fourth, a spokesman suggested that residents call the department with safety concerns.

“The best way to make a report about any safety concern is by either calling the main TPD line, or coming to the department,” Temple Police spokesman Chris Christoff said. “As you can imagine with any Fourth of July celebration, we always have the potential of having several calls come in regarding fireworks, thus having to dispatch our officers all over the city. We always do our best to stop any of these situations from happening.”