Council discusses local fireworks ordinance

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — Already fielding calls from residents
about firework discharges, the City Council invited Fire Chief Dave Brogan and Police Chief Lee Gavin to the podium to discuss city law and safety during its meeting June 24, the last before Independence Day.

“It’s only June 24 and the calls about fireworks are already coming in,” Gavin said. “We’re gonna be busy this holiday.”

According to city ordinance,fireworks cannot be ignited, discharged or used except on the day of, day before and day after a holiday. They also cannot
be detonated between midnight and 8 a.m. on those three days.

They cannot be detonated from public property
property, have to travel up and cannot come down anywhere else than the property from which they were detonated.

Gavin said the penalty for violating the ordinance is up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.

He advised residents who see and hear illegal firework use to contact police immediately.

“If you see the fireworks going up, give us a call and we’ll respond as fast as we can,” Gavin said. “Please bear with us. We respond to these reports
but we have to take the priority runs first.

A house being broken into or a serious accident will come first, but we do make it out to these firework runs.”

Brogan said he’s sure there are residents using fireworks believing they aren’t doing anything wrong because the state has made the sale legal, but that is not the case.

He said users don’t always realize how dangerous
fireworks can be.

“There is no such thing as a safe firework,” Brogan said.

Councilwoman Marge Horvath said the issue has been something she and other council members have been concerned with because a lot of residents are upset with fireworks going off every day at various hours.

Brogan said firefighters across the state are lobbying for stronger fireworks laws and he hopes local municipalities will be given more power in regulating fireworks.

“The law is made to cover the whole state, but what might make sense for a community in the Upper Peninsula is different for more densely populated areas, like most of southeast Michigan,” Brogan said. “But we will follow state guidelines.”

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.
com.)