City’s law prohibit fireworks

Published 10:47 pm Friday, July 2, 2010

Before buying or igniting fireworks for the Fourth of July, residents need to be aware of the regulations of the city and county.

Within the Selma and Orrville city limits, the purchase, sale or use of fireworks is prohibited. The county and Valley Grande allow the purchasing, selling and igniting fireworks.

“You can purchase fireworks in the county, and then bring them back in the city,” said Jimmy Nunn, Selma city attorney. “The wrong is not purchasing them in the county. The wrong is when you bring them back and you let them explode.”

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Restrictions on fireworks in the Selma city limits fall under the Code of Ordinances, section 11-3 and 11-4, passed in 1958.

It states that “it shall be unlawful at any time for any person to sell, offer for sale or otherwise dispose of or to have in possession, keep, store, manufacture, use, handle, explode, discharge or shoot any pyrotechnics, commonly called ‘fireworks,’ within the city or police jurisdiction of the city.”

This include blank cartridges, toy cannons in which explosives are used, the type of balloons which require fire underneath to propel the balloons, torpedoes, sky rockets, Roman candles, bombs, or other fireworks containing any explosive compound, or any tablets or other device containing an explosive substance.

It does not include sparklers, paper pistol caps used in toy pistols or signaling devices normally in possession of railroads.

Orrville officials chose to ban the sale or use of fireworks in the 1970s, after a fire from a personal firework explosion burnt a barn during a July Fourth celebration, said Gene McHugh, Orrville mayor.

Since Valley Grande became incorporated in 2003, city officials have chosen to allow the sale and use of fireworks.

“There’s no Valley Grande ordinance that restricts the use of fireworks,” said Mayor Tom Lee.

Dallas County adheres to state laws, which allow the sale and use of fireworks for personal use or public display.

State law allows the sale of fireworks during fireworks seasons, from June 20 until July 20 and Dec. 15 until Jan. 2. All seasonal retailers and public displays must receive permits from the state fire marshal.

No one under the age of 16 may purchase fireworks unless accompanied by an adult, nor may intoxicated persons purchase fireworks.

When igniting or exploding fireworks, all displays must be farther than 600 feet from a church, hospital, asylum, public school, any enclosed building or within 200 feet of where fireworks are stored or sold.

Gene Hisel, fireworks retailer, sells during peak seasons. Although he cannot estimate his profits, he knows that retailers can make thousands of dollars per season.

“Depending on what you sell, fireworks can be very lucrative,” Hisel said. “It’s a big business twice a year.”

The most common fireworks bought are sparklers and shiny, non-explosive fireworks for children, and Roman candles and fire cannons for adults. Products range from $1 to $40 per item.

“It appears to be the older you get, the bigger you want your toys to bang,” Hisel said.

Hisel will not be selling fireworks this year because the fire marshal was not able to inspect the inventory in time for sales for the Fourth of July. He will be able to sell starting in January.

To see fireworks this Independence Day, visit Valley Grande or Selma to see the displays.

Valley Grande will host a celebration and rib cook-off sponsored by the Valley Grande Exchange Club on July Fourth at 5 p.m. in the city park. Fireworks display will begin at 9 p.m.

The city of Selma and Taylorville Family Entertainment Center will display fireworks on July Fourth at 9 p.m. from Taylorville.