Washington Evening Journal

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 20, 2018

Fireworks use draws resident complaints

By David Hotle | Jul 06, 2017


Washington Police Lt. Ron See told the Washington City Council Wednesday that one person had been seen at Washington County Hospital for injuries suffered from fireworks use, Two fires in the county had possibly been started as the result of fireworks, and the majority of calls the police department has been receiving recently have been related to fireworks.

“Most of the calls seem to stem from fireworks trash in people’s yards, fireworks landing on people’s homes and that kind of thing,” he said. “We had a couple of complaints about vehicles being damaged by fireworks.”

See said a call that came in Tuesday evening about fireworks being shot into a vehicle had actually been a situation where someone was shooting fireworks out of a vehicle and it landed by another vehicle. Those individuals were cited. It was also after hours. In the vast majority of cases, officers have been talking to the people to educate them on the ordinance and state codes, but the one being shot out of a car, that was just a no-brainer.”

Mayor Sandra Johnson commented that according to an ordinance the council recently approved, fireworks use is to be limited to the shooter’s own property. The ordinance also says fireworks can be used between June 30 and July 8 until 10 p.m. and on Dec. 31.

See also said there had been a ditch fire on West 18th in which fireworks debris was found. He also said there was a garage fire in the county the fire department believes was caused by fireworks use.

During the public comment section of the regular city coubncil meeting, several people asked the council to consider amending the fireworks ordinance. Resident Pamela Johnston said she plans to begin circulating a petition to have fireworks use banned from Washington. It was explained changes to the ordinance would have to have three readings before it can be adopted. Johnson said she believes it is too late to change the existing ordinance this year, but that changes can be made for next year.

“People have no common sense,” council member Jaron Rosien said. “It is just out of control.”

Johnston said, despite the city ordinance, people had been shooting fireworks in her neighborhood for weeks and they don’t stop at 10 p.m.

“I was curious, June 30 through July 8,” Johnston said. “We certainly don’t let our little trick-or-treaters run around town for days trick-or-treating for several nights. We don’t have our holiday parade nine times in a row.”

Resident Edie Richardson said she understood the compromise the council had made regarding fireworks. She also said that her house had been turned into a “war zone.” She said there are at least three people shooting fireworks in her neighborhood. She has found expended bottle rockets in her yard.

“I am just speechless at how awful my home has been for the last three weeks,” she said. “It is getting increasingly worse.”

Resident Ed Raber also said his neighborhood had many people setting off large fireworks displays, many of which go off their property and on to other’s property. He said the shooting goes on after hours.

“I’m not a fan,” he said.

Rosien also said he had received a complaint about the city’s fireworks show being lackluster. City clerk Illa Earnest said the city has $4,000 budgeted each year to fund the Independence Day show, and as many fireworks are bought with the amount as possible. She commented the council may consider not having the show in the future.

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