Area ordinances differ on fireworks

Monday, June 26, 2006

With the Fourth of July just more than a week away, local police agencies are reminding residents what fireworks activities are allowed.

Setting fireworks off in Cape Girardeau and Jackson is only allowed between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday through July 3, with the time extended to midnight on July 4.

In Scott City, fireworks are allowed on more days, but the window for most days is much shorter. Fireworks are allowed only between 6 to 9 p.m. through July 3. On the July 4, fireworks can be set off from 8 a.m. to midnight, according to Scott City Police Lt. Dave Leeman.

While Jackson banned bottle rockets two years ago and Cape Girardeau did so in 2001, the projectiles are still legal in Scott City.

A proposed ordinance in Scott City earlier this year would have banned bottle rockets, along with discharging fireworks from roofs and the inside of buildings, but it was never voted on.

Leeman said he hoped the ordinance would be passed by next year's Fourth of July because bottle rockets present a fire hazard and are a major cause for litter over the holiday.

While Cape Girardeau County allows the sales fireworks from stands between June 20 and July 10, local municipal ordinances slightly differ.

Sales in Jackson and Cape Girardeau run from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day between Tuesday and July 4.

Jackson police stressed that no fireworks may be discharged in a municipal park at any time, even during Fourth of July festivities in a city park.

Anyone under the age of 17 must also be supervised by a parent or guardian.

Most complaints during the holiday seasons in years past have been from the discharge of fireworks after hours, according to Cape Girardeau police spokesman Jason Selzer.

There were 195 calls for fireworks violations between June 27 and July 11, 2004 in the city. The same time period last year saw 175 calls, Selzer said.

Anyone caught violating the ordinance could be fined up to $500 or sentenced to 90 days in jail, according to Cape Girardeau city attorney Eric Cunningham. In practice, however, the fines are lower and jail time unlikely, he said.

Scott City is not so lenient, according to Leeman. After a warning, anyone caught discharging fireworks will receive a $500 fine, he said.

"That is a very good motivator" for obeying the ordinances, Leeman said of the fine.

kmorrison@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 127

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