Fireworks

Towns should keep bans on the books

Local residents have had our annual dose of loud fireworks at all hours, with the frequency of the bangs and booms worse now that West Virginia law permits sale of virtually any type of pyrotechnic device. Unfortunately, that liberalization in state law has brought calls for municipalities to relax their bans on setting off fireworks within town and city limits.

Scores of complaints about fireworks set off within municipal limits were received by town and city officials throughout our area during the Independence Day holiday period. Obviously, quite a few people believe that if the state will allow them to have their rockets, powerful firecrackers and other pyrotechnics, they ought to be able to use them as they see fit.

No. Devices that burn at intense temperatures and create powerful explosions have no business in places where people and buildings are packed densely. The danger of hot debris from an exploded rocket falling onto a roof and starting a fire is very real. So is the possibility of a “dud” device landing near a child, then going off.

For those very reasons, most municipalities kept fireworks bans on the books after the state relaxed its limits.

City council members in one town were asked last week to allow use of fireworks inside the community. “Not everybody has the luxury of going out of city limits just to blow off a mortar or bottle rocket or so forth,” a city resident told them.

“Just one year, let us blow them up. If something happens, take it back,” the man added.

Council members did not seem impressed by the argument. They should not. Municipal fireworks bans were put in place to protect people — and they should remain in force. A burned-down home or badly burned child cannot be taken back

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