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City officials consider adopting fireworks ordinance

By Staff | Jun 16, 2009

The city of Rugby doesn’t have an ordinance on the books relating to fireworks, but there is talk among the public safety committee and other council members about soon drafting one.

Karla Harmel, city auditor-administrator, said such an ordinance would consider such issues as time limits when fireworks would be allowed to be set off; requirements for adult to be present when children set off fireworks; and require cleaning up fireworks debris, especially that is left in streets and on sidewalks; and also prohibiting some kinds of fireworks.

Harmel stressed discussion is still very preliminary, and nothing would be in place prior to the 10 days fireworks are allowed to be set off this year between June 27 and July 5.

City officials have fielded quite a number of complaints over the years from residents upset with the noise caused by fireworks, and the litter from them left on streets and in yards as well as the potential fire hazard.

Gary Kraft, Rugby fire chief, reminds residents fireworks have the potential to cause a fire, and that’s why setting them off responsibly and with adult supervision is important. The department has been called out , on occassion, to a fire reportedly started by fireworks.

There have been a few episodes of fireworks hitting houses, sheds and causing damage to siding, or starting grass or trees on fire.

Harmel said there probably is a good number of residents who would like to see a complete ban of fireworks in the city limits, but whether that would be passed is doubtful. Putting restrictions on fireworks use may be a compromise.

Like most things, it comes down to people using common sense and being responsible when it comes to setting off fireworks, Harmel said. Be considerate to neighbors about when to set them off; and clean up the mess afterward. It’s those who are not, who spur the debate to ban or restrict them.

The city does have a noise ordinance which the police department will enforce if fireworks cause a disturbance, especially when they are set off in the late evening hours. Fireworks are not allowed to be set off after 11 p.m. in the city.

Under state law, fireworks can only be set off between June 27 and July 5, and state law also prohibits the sale of fireworks to children under age 12. Fireworks can only be purchased in town through a licensed supplier.

Last year for bottle rockets

Effective Aug. 1, no longer will bottle rockets will be sold, so this will be the last time they can be set off in the city around the. Earlier this year, the North Dakota Legislature voted to ban the sale of bottle rockets, which are the culprit in many fireworks-related injuries.

Over the years there have been reports of fireworks-related injuries to people, including children, and that’s why officials stress the importance of adult supervision. That will help to cut down on the number of mishaps

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