COLUMBUS (WCMH) — It’s only two weeks until the Fourth of July and in many neighborhoods, fireworks are already being heard.
Columbus City Council took a stand Monday on the issue, introducing an ordinance that could legalize bigger fireworks here in Ohio.
Currently in Columbus, residents are limited to a very small range of fireworks. There is some concern that even though this bill hasn’t become law, folks will continue to set off those consumer-grade fireworks, even though they’re illegal.
City Council is urging people to be aware of what is legal in the city.
“We call them the four S’s: snaps, smokes, sparklers and snakes,” explained Columbus Fire Battalion Chief Steve Martin, listing the legal fireworks.
Council raised concerns about a new bill going through the Ohio Legislature.
“Whereas the recent passage of SB 113 in the Ohio Senate, which would allow the possession of consumer grade fireworks in Ohio, will create negative consequences,” said Councilman Mitch Brown, reading part of his resolution.
One resident during Monday’s meeting said, “Last year, July 4th was just disastrous for me and my family.”
Consumer grade fireworks include mortars, roman candles and firecrackers.
Martin worries more people will think consumer-grade fireworks are legal because of the legislation in the General Assembly.
“Our hands are kind of tied unless we witness them doing it,” Martin said about enforcing current laws on fireworks. He said they will have patrols and employees taking calls from residents, but enforcement can be difficult.
“’So, I don’t want to complain because then I have to live with you for the rest of the year and I don’t want to be that neighbor,’” Martin said describing some of those phone calls. “So we get a lot of calls, but a lot of folks, they don’t want to address it. They only want to be anonymous.”
One resident during the meeting asked the city to do more if SB 113, which would legalize consumer-grade fireworks, becomes a reality.
“Implore you to come up with functional ways to control and enforce these laws that we have, especially if the bill that is up for a vote on Wednesday does get passed,” the resident said. “Anything you can do to help us is greatly appreciated by people like me.”
Council is asking people to enjoy public fireworks displays.
Council is also urging people to practice safety as well. Don’t let children light fireworks and make sure you’re watching them if they’re holding one like a sparkler.
Fireworks can cause severe injuries and burns.
The Ohio House of Representatives will consider the Senate’s fireworks bill Wednesday.