October 21, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
50°F

No one cited for fireworks over holiday weekend

MEDINA — Police responded to about 15 complaints of fireworks this holiday weekend, but they issued no citations.

“Usually, we go out there and advise them of the complaint and they stop,” Medina police Sgt. Pat Sloan said Sunday evening. “We didn’t cite anyone, as far as I know.”

Sloan said most complaints came after residents’ celebrations became disruptive.

“It’s if there’s a long duration or if it’s late at night,” he said. “You know, their kids are trying to sleep and it’s getting out of hand.

“Plus, they’re illegal.”

Under Ohio law, most fireworks, including firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles, can be purchased in-state but not set off here without a permit. Buyers must sign affidavits agreeing to take them out of state within two days.

If prosecuted, first-time offenders can be jailed up to six months or fined up to $1,000.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 200 people visit emergency rooms every day in the weeks surrounding Independence Day with fireworks-related injuries.  That’s why Ohio Fire Marshal Larry Flowers cautions fireworks — even legal ones like sparklers — are dangerous, especially in the hands of children.

“Sparklers, for example, burn at 1,800 to 2,000 degrees, so just a quick touch to any part of the body is very, very dangerous — especially the eyes, with young people,” Flowers told the Ohio News Connection. “Even after the sparkler is out, that wire remains very hot for a period of time.”

Flowers said traditional fireworks could not only harm the user and viewers, but also could damage nearby property.

“Aerial devices go up several hundred feet in the air and could land somewhere, and certainly there’s a potential to start a fire,” he said. “We have a few of those every year — things landing on people’s roofs. So, there’s the potential to cause damage, set fires, or injure people in the surrounding neighborhood.”

Instead, Flowers recommended residents leave setting off fireworks to professionals by attending licensed and approved celebratory displays.

Contact reporter Nick Glunt at (330) 721-4048 or nglunt@medina-gazette.com. Follow him on Twitter @ngfalcon.