City code outlines fireworks rules

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, December 30, 2008

One long-lasting New Year’s Eve tradition for many people around the world is shooting off fireworks, firecrackers and other explosive devices. Before celebrating the new year with a burst of gunpowder, make sure you are aware of the local fireworks ordinances.

The Demopolis City Council adopted the 1975 Code of Alabama regarding fireworks at its meeting on Aug. 23, 2001. Ordinance 2001-3 outlines the sale and use of common Class C fireworks within the city limits of Demopolis.

According to the ordinance, fireworks may be sold and discharged in Demopolis during only two times of the year: from Dec. 15 to Jan. 2 and from June 20 to July 10.

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Fireworks can only be sold from 8 a.m. to midnight during those dates, and can only be discharged from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., with a special provision made for New Year’s Eve extending the firing time to 1 a.m.

Any person or business that violates this ordinance would be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, subject to a fine of $100 to $500 or imprisonment of up to 30 days.

Interim police chief Tim Williams said the biggest problem on New Year’s Eve is not with fireworks, but with firearms.

“People, for some reason — and this goes back for years — believe that you’re supposed to go out and fire a weapon in the air,” he said. “That is just completely unsafe. That bullet has to come back down somewhere. People in other cities have been killed because of other people’s recklessness. That’s probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard of for New Year’s.

“We ask that people just not do that. It’s dangerous, it serves no purpose. It’s Newton’s Law: What goes up must come back down. It’s just a matter of where it falls.”

Otherwise, Williams said the holiday is likely to be without many problems.

“We’ve had enough rainfall to where the ground is not too dry,” he said. Fireworks that hit dry ground are more likely to start a fire. “A few folks celebrate a little too hard and get too drunk and act up, but as many years as I’ve been working it, I don’t recall having any big problems with the exception of the firearms being shot off at midnight. People are even getting better about not drinking and driving.”

If people are going to go someplace where alcohol will be served, they should have a designated driver or make arrangements with someone to bring you home.