Residents call for fireworks ban

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


Several Washington residents are calling on the city council to ban fireworks. One resident even comparing the Fourth of July to a night of ?living hell.?

Tony Crile was just one of several Washington residents who approached the council during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night to discuss the city?s fireworks ordinance. The ordinance limits the use of fireworks to July 3-4 and Dec. 31. Crile, however, would like to see their use banned altogether. ?It was like living the war all over again. It was going off all over the community. You couldn?t get away from it,? he said.

Crile, a resident at the United Presbyterian Home, said he was attending the meeting to represent many of his neighbors, mostly veterans, who had been terrified while the fireworks were going off.

Evie Richardson also addressed the council Tuesday night regarding firework use within the city. Richardson spearheaded the push last year to ban fireworks use. During public comments, Richardson said she noticed fireworks being shot off about 10 days before and four days after the time outlined by the city ordinance for legal use. On July 9, at 11:30 p.m., she said she called the police to report fireworks being used.

Richardson, like Crile, said fireworks going off in town ?terrified people and horrified animals.?

Council member Fran Stigers said that he cares for his 82-year-old father who served 18 months in Vietnam and that his father suffered on July 4 from the fireworks being shot. ?He was petrified,? Stigers said.

The city?s fireworks ordinance was put into place last year after the State Legislature legalized the sale and usage of fireworks. During that time, the council heard from residents on both sides of the issue and came up with what they believed to be a tolerable compromise.

Tuesday night, Mayor Jaron Rosien referred to the fireworks issue as a ?lose-lose-lose? situation, as those who don?t enjoy fireworks aren?t happy with the ordinance, but limiting it any more would upset those who do enjoy the pyrotechnics.

Rosien said he believed the council would once again look at the issue during an upcoming workshop.

Council member Steve Gault said he thought the council had given enough consideration to the fireworks issue last year. ?We have a situation for two days out of 365,? he said. ?If we decide to go to no fireworks at all, we are still going to have fireworks in town. It isn?t going to make a bit of difference.?