Ribfest all but free of crime, injuries

Ribfest attendees sit back and enjoy the fire work show in Knoch Park at Ribfest in Naperville IL, on Friday, July 4, 2014.    | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media ORG XMIT: 01111715A
Ribfest attendees sit back and enjoy the fire work show in Knoch Park at Ribfest in Naperville IL, on Friday, July 4, 2014. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media

Naperville police officers, paramedics and workers in the emergency room of Edward Hospital got a bit of a gift during the Naperville Exchange Club’s Ribfest 2014 last weekend.

Police made all of five arrests during the four-day extravaganza in Knoch Park, and no serious injuries were reported by festival workers or patrons.

The news was equally good where Fourth of July fireworks were concerned. Keith Hartenberger, public information officer for Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare, said Edward Hospital emergency room personnel “did not treat any patients for fireworks-related injuries” prior to or during the holiday weekend.

Naperville Fire Department Fire Marshal Scott Scheller said there were no cases of heat exhaustion, food poisoning or similar ailments during the festival. Scheller said the most serious incident occurred about 9:30 p.m. Saturday and involved a propane gas tank being used by a merchant selling grilled chicken.

The seller “thought they’d turned off the tank, but the hose connection began to leak propane,” Scheller said Monday. The gas was then “ignited by the grill next to it,” he said.

That, in turn, melted the tank’s handle and valve, along with a small portion of the tent near the grill, Scheller said. The merchant and a fellow operator standing nearby suffered flash burns that paramedics treated on the scene, he said.

Hartenberger confirmed neither seller sought treatment at the hospital, and emergency room workers “did not treat any Ribfest-related trauma or heat cases.”

Naperville police made five arrests on or near the Ribfest grounds between Thursday and Sunday, said Sgt. Steve Schindlbeck.

Four of those involved people wanted on arrest warrants issued by other law enforcement agencies, Schindlbeck said. The fifth was that of a local man who allegedly had been making a nuisance of himself near the beer tent, he said.

There were no instances of teenagers or underage adults attempting to use phony identification to buy beer during the festival. Schindlbeck added Ribfest officials also had no trouble where the theft of proceeds or festival tickets was concerned.

“We have not had an issue with this since (Ribfest) went to beer tickets,” as there is “no more exchange of cash between (festival) volunteers and the public,” he said.

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