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Fireworks Complaints Light Up Facebook, But Few Call Cops

July 6, 2018
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Fireworks Complaints Light Up Facebook, But Few Call Cops

Complaints about fireworks filled community- and crime-related social media pages for the past week.

The barrage of booming noise and flashing lights, deep into the night, terrifies pets and young children and prevents working people from getting needed sleep, according to posts on Facebook timelines.

Some cited Pennsylvania’s less-restrictive fireworks law that took effect late last year. For the first time, state residents may legally purchase consumer-grade fireworks, such as bottle rockets or Roman candles.

But it seems the people who complain on social media are not calling the cops.

Police chiefs at several Luzerne County departments say they did not see an increase in fireworks complaints for this year’s 4th of July.

Dallas Twp. police received no fireworks complaints at all on Wednesday, according to township police Chief Douglas Higgins.

Dallas received two complaints, fewer than normal, borough police Chief James Drury said.

However, the Independence Day fireworks season is not yet over, Drury cautioned.

“One reason (complaints) are down this year is that it was the middle of the week,” he said. “Most people are still going to have fireworks this weekend.”

Plains Twp. did not see an increase in fireworks complaints, either, according to township police Chief James O’Malley.

“We had two complaints,” O’Malley said. “The rain may have slowed it down a bit. ... We will see what the weekend brings.”

In Wilkes-Barre Twp., “for the most part people behaved,” said township police Chief Ronald Smith.

Smith said his officers respond to fireworks complaints, issue warnings to offenders and keep an eye on properties that generate complaints.

All of the police chiefs said their officers will enforce the state fireworks law, which stipulates that fireworks may not be set off within 150 feet of an occupied structure.

There are also restrictions on noise, which vary from one municipality to the next.

“Hearing fireworks at 1 a.m. is not acceptable,” Smith said. “That’s common sense.”

According to state police, the following restrictions are part of the state’s fireworks regulations:

n They cannot be ignited or discharged on a public or private property without express permission of the property owner.

n They cannot be discharged from or within a motor vehicle or building.

n They cannot be discharged toward a motor vehicle or building.

n They cannot be discharged within 150 feet of an occupied structure.

n They cannot be discharged while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or another drug.

For more on the new fireworks law, visit www.psp.pa.gov/public-safety/Pages/fireworks-safety.aspx

Contact the writer:

emark@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2117

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