Police request courtesy during fireworks season

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 22, 2005

Fireworks shows are a big part of the New Years holiday.

Unfortunately, in the days leading up to New Years, they can become more of an annoyance than a form of entertainment.

Demopolis Director of Public Safety Jeff Manuel said his department is urging fireworks users to consider the feelings of their neighbors.

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“We are encouraging people using fireworks to please be respectful of their neighborhoods and neighbors,” Manuel said. “A lot of the complaints we get have to do with noise and trash. We just want them to be respectful to their neighbors.”

For the last week, Manuel said, complaints have come in regarding the aftermath of late night firework shootings. Carelessly fired fireworks, Manuel said, often find their way onto other peoples property and leave a mess.

Manuel said they are asking people to limit their use of fireworks to their own property and clean up any stray debris.

“If people are going to shoot off fireworks, they need to do so on their own property,” Manuel said. “They need to make sure the fireworks land in their own yard and not in a neighbor’s yard so they have to clean it up.”

The department’s requests are more than just courtesy, Manuel said, they are the law. Manuel said, as with any other law, they must punish anyone in violation.

“People need to be mindful of the city ordinance,” Manuel said. “We are not just riding around and trying to find people in violation. We don’t want it to get to that point, but if someone is breaking the law we have to enforce it.”

The city’s fireworks ordinance is very specific on both the sale and use of fireworks within city limits. Merchants are required to display a permit from the state fire marshall and a business license and permit from the city of Demopolis for each stand, trailer or facility.

The ordinance also requires only Class C fireworks, which include

toy smoke devices, toy caps containing not more than .25 grains of explosive mixture, toy propellant devices, cigarette loads, trick matches, trick noise makers, smoke candles, smoke pots, smoke grenades, smoke signals, hand signal devices, very signal cartridges, sparklers, explosive auto alarms, and other similar devices,

to be used and sold. Fireworks are only to be sold from 8 a.m. until midnight from Dec. 15 until Jan. 2 of the following year.

The rules for discharging fireworks follow the same dates and similar times. Fireworks may only be discharged from Dec. 15 until Jan. 2 from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Special hours are set for New Years Day until 1 p.m.

Anyone in violation of the ordinance can be found guilty of a Class A misdemeanor and upon conviction, can be punished by a fine of no less than $100 and no more than $500. There is also the possibility of a 30 day sentence or both a sentence and fine.

Fireworks rules and regulations:

Only common Class C fireworks are legal for sale.

Fireworks can only be sold from Dec. 15 until Jan. 2 within city limits or the police jurisdiction.

Fireworks can only be sold from 8 a.m. until midnight.

Fireworks may only be fired from Dec. 15 until Jan. 2 from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Special provisions apply for New Years Day with hours extended until 1 a.m.