While several East Tennessee communities postponed their annual fireworks shows, one East Tennessee town stuck with its Fourth of July plans.
"We take great pride in that because it is a tradition, part of our culture and part of our history here in Huntsville," said Capt. Jared Hughett of Huntsville Fire/Rescue.
For years, the Huntsville firefighters have been hosting the annual Firemen's Fourth Festival, which acts as a fundraiser for the department.
And, as part of the two-day event, the firefighters themselves set off the fireworks.
"You have to be certified to touch them, to load them, to do anything with them," Capt. Hughett said.
The firefighters involved in the display are all certified through Pyro Shows, the LaFollette-based company that provides the fireworks. And they're aware of the safety concerns, especially in this year's hot, dry weather.
But, after some discussions among community leaders, firefighters decided to move forward with the show.
"I look at it as, if something happens, we're right here," Capt. Hughett said. "If something happens and we have to stop the show, we'll stop it. I mean, public safety and the safety of our community comes before anything else."
In fact, firefighters will be staging a truck and ambulance near the football field where they'll set off the fireworks.
Plus, they'll hose down the nearby woods and middle school, along with staging firefighters on the roof of the school.
"Yeah, we want the community to be happy and have a good show, but we don't want to take a chance on burning anybody's structures or any of their land, so we'll take extra precautions, whatever we have to do, we're willing to do it," Capt. Hughett said.
Also this year, Capt. Hughett said the focus of the festival's parade returned to the nation's military.
Loved ones of the fallen Huntsville Marine, 21-year-old Cpl. Rusty Washam, served as grand marshals.