City invokes restrictions on fireworks

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — The city moved quickly to implement stricter regulations on the use of consumer fireworks within the limits of the city.

The state of Michigan removed its ban on the sale and use of consumer fireworks in 2011, but the state also gave local government the authority to restrict the hours fireworks can be used within its borders.

Councilman Daniel Galeski said the use of fireworks in the city has gotten out of control and he would like to stay in line with the city’s strategic plan and maintain a high standard of life. He said residents are entitled to quiet enjoyment on the holidays and should be able to enjoy the quality of life they are used to.

“I believe, right now, fireworks are out of hand,” he said, “especially in our parks. It is quite a large problem.”

To address the problem, the council adopted a resolution for the first and final reading of an amendment to impose stricter restrictions on the hours the fireworks can be used.

Michigan law restricts the use of consumer fireworks to the day preceding, the day of, and the day after a national holiday, but the amendment would make the use of consumer fireworks — sky rockets, Roman candles, aerial shells, mortars, etc. — illegal from midnight to 8 a.m.

New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day provides the only exception, in Wyandotte when fireworks can be used outside the hours of 1 to 8 a.m.

This amendment will take effect July 1 due to the higher use of fireworks over the Fourth of July holiday. Fire Chief Jeffrey Carley said the ordinance changes were in direct response to the noise generated and injuries sustained by residents using aerial fireworks.

He said there were 42 reported fireworks-related injuries in Wyandotte during June, July and August 2012.

Carley said 35 of the 42 injuries were caused by consumer fireworks and 16 of those dealt specifically with injuries sustained by mortar-type fireworks. Four of those injuries, he said, were very serious injuries involving amputation of fingers.

“We didn’t want to end up with the wild, wild west going on,” he said. “The city has a responsibility to prevent unnecessary injury and discomfort to the best of its abilities.”

The other main restriction, Carley said, was that fireworks could not be used on public property, on school or church properties, or land not owned by the user. Fireworks can only be used on a resident’s own property unless given direct permission by the owner of the property.

Although aerial fireworks are legal in the state, sky lanterns are still prohibited in the city due to Federal Aviation Adminstration regulations on the city because of its proximity to Wayne County Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Carley said. Sky lanterns can reach altitudes close to 1,000 feet for more than two miles, which would interfere with an airplane’s flight path.

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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