The sky filled with professional pyrotechnics and illicit amateur shows, but firefighters reported the calmest July 4 in years, in part because of the first rain in weeks.

But the valley's fireworks-related luck did not extend beyond the nation's birthday.

On Tuesday, a southwest valley home sustained $150,000 in damage from a fire caused by a teenager playing with fireworks indoors.

Then on Thursday, a blaze possibly sparked by fireworks swept through a central valley apartment complex, injuring four people and leaving almost 50 homeless.


Fire houses closed

Two of the eight fire stations in North Las Vegas were closed for the day because there weren't enough firefighters on duty to staff them.

City Manager Tim Hacker said the closures happened because more firefighters than usual called in sick but stopped short of calling it a "sickout."

Jeff Hurley, president of the city's firefighters union, blamed a city budget-cutting policy for the short staffing that led to the closures.


Deal angers victims

Two victims of a former police officer accused of groping women say they're not satisfied with his plea agreement and will ask for the maximum punishment during his October sentencing.

Rebecca Portillo, 29, and Victoria Murnane, 27, said Tuesday that they want John Norman to serve jail time and be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Murnane called him "a predator with a badge."


Rough sailing ahead

High winds and waves swept through Lake Mead National Recreation Area, nearly drowning one swimmer, injuring a boater and dampening the holiday for others who hit the lake.

Park rangers at Lake Mead rescued 40 people involved in boating accidents and malfunctions and other medical emergencies over the holiday.


Nye jumps on board

Less than a month after some disgruntled constituents tried to arrest them at a public meeting, Pahrump Town Board members find themselves under a different kind of threat: demotion.

Voters in the Nye County town 60 miles west of Las Vegas will go to the polls in November to decide whether to get rid of the elected panel and replace it with an appointed advisory board with almost no authority.

The Nye County Commission approved the ballot measure in a surprise, unanimous vote. When a similar motion came up last year, all but one of the commissioners voted against it.


Bad beat for Trickett

Sam Trickett, the British poker player who won $10.1 million as runner-up in the World Series of Poker's Big One for One Drop event, was reportedly assaulted outside a Las Vegas club hours after the game ended.

Trickett, 26, and a friend were out celebrating his second-place finish in the $1 million buy-in event when six men assaulted them outside an unnamed Las Vegas club.

Police said no complaint had been lodged about the incident, but Trickett posted a photo of his face on his Twitter account, showing cuts, bruises and a bloody gash across his nose.