Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Fireworks sales begin Thursday

By ABBY ECKEL, Herald Staff Writer | 6/24/2013

It’s almost that time of year again.

Fireworks stands have started popping up around Ottawa as sellers gear up for the first day of holiday sales. But before grabbing a handful of Black Cats, make sure the city where the fireworks will be set off allows them, and proper safety precautions.

It’s almost that time of year again.

Fireworks stands have started popping up around Ottawa as sellers gear up for the first day of holiday sales. But before grabbing a handful of Black Cats, make sure the city where the fireworks will be set off allows them, and proper safety precautions.

Fireworks regulations differ by city in Kansas, not by county, Lisa Johnson, Franklin County administrator, said.

“There are no regulations for setting [fireworks] off [in Franklin County],” she said. “We do regulate [fireworks] stands.”

In Kansas, fireworks only can be sold Thursday through July 5, according to the Kansas State Fire Marshal’s website.

The City of Ottawa prohibits the discharging and possession of fireworks of any kind within the city limits, with exception to the local Fourth of July fireworks display at Forest Park. Violators could face a Class B misdemeanor, according to Ottawa’s city ordinances. The penalty for a Class B misdemeanor may include a fine up to $1,000 or imprisonment for up to 90 days, or both.

The City of Wellsville’s ordinance states it only is legal to set off fireworks July 3 and July 4 within the city limits. It is illegal to set them off within the Wellsville fire limits — the downtown district from Fourth Street to Seventh Street, including the alleys behind the buildings, according to a city ordinance. Violators could be fined no less than $5 and no more than $25 for each offense.

Pomona allows fireworks use within its city limits from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday to July 5, and 8 a.m. to midnight July 4. Fireworks, however, cannot be set off on city streets, in alleys or highways, or in any public park or space.

The City of Richmond allows fireworks to be discharged between the hours of 8 a.m. to midnight, Thursday through July 4.

Williamsburg’s ordinance, adopted in June 1907, states that fireworks can be shot off within city limits, but only on one’s own premises and not within 50 feet of any building.

With the ample amount of rain Franklin County recently has received, no burn ban or warning has been put into effect that would caution or restrict the use of fireworks within the county.

Fireworks may be banned in Ottawa, but Assistant Fire Chief Rick Oglesby said that doesn’t mean those in surrounding cities shouldn’t be safe when shooting them.

“[Fireworks] should always be [handled by] an adult,” he said, “Fireworks are not meant for kids. Even sparklers can cause extreme injury and burns.”

When shooting off fireworks, Oglesby said, there should always be water within arm’s reach, just in case something goes wrong.

“People need to be cautious of the conditions of where they’re setting [fireworks] off,” he said. “They should never be shot from cars or at other people.”

Oglesby said the fire department has had incidences where people have been hurt from fireworks accidents, as well as causing structure fires.

“They’re extremely dangerous in my opinion,” he said. “I encourage people to read the precautions that are placed on the [fireworks] packages.”

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