Fireworks law comes in quietly

3:40 pm July 11th, 2012

The town of Eatonville’s conversion to a new, more restrictive fireworks law apparently went off without too much of a bang during the Independence Day holiday.

The Police Department reported that from July 2 to the morning of July 5, it received three fireworks complaints. Two were on July 4, when the heaviest use of fireworks by residents was anticipated, and the third was on July 3.

The new fireworks ordinance, which was approved by the Town Council last year but didn’t take effect until this year, allows the public to use fireworks only on July 3 and 4 during the hours of fnoon to 11 p.m. It also bans the discharge of fireworks on a public right of way, street or sidewalk.

The law only applies within the town limits. Pierce County and other cities and towns have their own regulations.
In one of the areas that are under county regulations, no major fireworks-related incidents were reported by South Pierce Fire and Rescue. Fire chief Bob Vellias said nine calls linked to fireworks were received July 4, including one in which a firework exploded near a man’s face. He didn’t require medical treatment, however.
South Pierce Fire serves serves the Clear Lake, Harts Lake, La Grande, Ohop Lake, Eatonville, Lacamas and Roy areas. In the weeks leading up the Fourth of July holiday, Eatonville Police issued reminders through the news media and its own web site about the new law. Officials noted that violations could result in a $100 fine for a first offense, with higher fines for repeat infractions, and that parents would have to pay if their non-adult children were the offenders. Violators virtually had to be caught in the act in order to be cited by officers .

Besides the few volations of fireworks-use rules, there were some other fireworks-related incidents handled by officers,. According to police chief Jason McGuire, they all occurred on July 3 during the professional fireworks show staged at Eatonville Middle School as part of the town’s annual Independence Day celebration. They included:

• An assault after the fireworks show. • Four people who brought dogs to the event, which weren’t allowed.

• Two missing children who were returned to their parents and two lost items that were returned to their owners.

• One intoxicated male.

• One vehicle parked in a way that it was blocking traffic.

The fireworks complaint on July 3 stemmed from a report of fireworks in a parking lot during the fireworks show. July 4 was the last day fireworks could be sold in Eatonville. In unincorporated areas of Pierce County, sales and use were legal June 28 through July 5. In addition to the Independence Day holiday, fireworks are legal in Eatonville and the county on New Year’s Eve.

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