‘Firework prank’ raises concerns for upcoming 4th of July celebrations

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Millions of people are expected to light up the sky with fireworks for the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 19,500 fires in 2019 were caused by fireworks.

Alderman Nick Palumbo said he is concerned about the uptick of people using fireworks — especially in densely packed neighborhoods. The city has received dozens of calls from locals expressing concern about fireworks being setoff “all hours of the day.”

Palumbo said it’s a situation that has “gotten out of hand.”

Christopher Stanley, a Savannah local, caught on his home camera what appeared to be two people ringing a doorbell and tossing a firework in the air. The video shows it shoot directly at his house and the homes near him on the residential street.

Stanley said he thought it may have been a prank, but added it could have gone through his window or hit one of his neighbor’s kids if they had been outside.

“To me they’re too easily accessible for something that has such potential destruction,” Stanley said.

Georgia legislature deregulated the use of fireworks a few years ago — leaving local municipalities in control of placing their own city ordinances. Alderman Palumbo said it’s an issue the city deals with every year but often put on the back-burner once the holiday passes.

“It’s time to put something: a common-sense language, a common-sense ordinance on the books,” Palumbo said describing his plans to work with the city attorney to draft an ordinance for 2021.

City leaders said they want people to enjoy the holiday, but to use caution if they plan to set off fireworks. Bottle rockets, firecrackers, and sparklers are rated as the most hazardous fireworks.

Georgia state law prohibits fireworks being set off on roads, highways and within 100 feet of gas stations, nursing homes, or hospitals.

Palumbo said the city wants people to enjoy celebrating the 4th of July, but to be cautious and responsible if they set off fireworks — stating concern about the impact the noise will have on veterans with PTSD and animals.

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