Washington Evening Journal
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Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 23, 2017

Fireworks continue after city fireworks show ends

By David Hotle | Jul 05, 2017

After the official City of Washington fireworks show at the Washington County Fairgrounds ended at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, the bangs and booms of private fireworks continued well into the night with citizens holding their own pyrotechnic shows.

Since the statewide ban on fireworks was lifted earlier this year, cities and municipalities have struggled to create ordinances governing the usage of fireworks. According to the ordinance lifting the statewide ban, fireworks can be sold according to state law, but the usage is at the discression of the individual municipalities. On Monday and Tuesday, the Washington Police Department reported getting many complaints about the usage of fireworks. At 11:36 p.m. Tuesday, the first “discharging fireworks” citation was issued to Jacob Daniel Mask, 19, of Washington, after he allegedly threw fireworks in the caller’s car.

“It doesn’t look as if anyone was inside the vehicle,” Washington Police Lt. Ron See said this morning.

“Discharging fireworks” is a simple misdemeanor that is punishible by up to 30 days in jail and a fine of up to $625.

Even after Independence Day is over, Washington residents are still allowed to shoot off fireworks until Saturday. During the June 20 Washington City Council meeting, The council approved an ordinance limiting the usage of fireworks in the city. According to the amendment made by council member Jaron Rosien, fireworks are allowed to be shot between June 30 and July 8 until 10 p.m. and Dec. 31 through 12:30 a.m. Jan. 1. The amended code comes after many complaints regarding the use of fireworks in Washington.

“It’s a little early to discuss,” See said of the possibility of the police department recommending modification of the city fireworks ordinance. “We are just a few hours into the fifth. We are going to sit down and see what problems we did have and see if it needs to be addressed further.”

See also said that he could hear people shooting off fireworks after the show had ended. Other reports say that fireworks were being shot on the square until late in the evening.

The state Legislature voted earlier this year to lift a sale ban on fireworks earlier this year. Previously, the state banned the sales of most explosive fireworks after two incidents involving property damage. In 1931, five blocks of Spencer’s business district were destroyed after a boy dropped a lit sparkler into a fireworks display. The incident resulted in 25 buildings being lost and 50 more damaged. On July 4, 1936, a girl dropped a sparkler on a pile of gasoline-soaked rags in a garage, which ended up destroying 20 businesses.

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