CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – Last year’s summer fireworks season hit Clarksville amid a pandemic lockdown. With families locked up for weeks and no major fireworks scheduled, many people have staged their own personal fireworks displays, and some have gone too far.
After more than $ 250,000 in damage across town, serious injuries to a child, an arson investigation and double the number of 911 calls, several residents have called for a change in local fire regulations fireworks, up to a total ban.
But this year, those regulations will remain mostly unchanged, according to Mayor Joe Pitts.
“I think it’s reasonable to conclude that the pandemic lockdown and lack of community-sponsored fireworks have played a role in the surge in fireworks-related activity in 2020 and the number of service calls, ”Pitts said in a press release. “We hope that the return of public celebrations and progress against the pandemic will improve our experience in 2021.
“As such, we will not be imposing any new restrictions for the upcoming seasonal celebrations of July 4, 2021. However, we will continue to monitor and assess what is happening this year and we reserve the right to impose further restrictions on fireworks in the future if we see a repeat of the problems we encountered in 2020. ”
One law that is new this year is the ban on “fireworks wars,” which caused much of the chaos last year, with minors shooting fireworks at each other. on the others.
On August 6, the city council unanimously passed a law prohibiting the shooting of fireworks in or out of a motor vehicle or launching fireworks at any person, group of persons or building.
Some council members at the time called for a total ban on personal fireworks, but that did not materialize.
Damage, calls and serious injuries
Last year, the number of fireworks-related 911 calls rose to 670 from May 15 to July 15, from an average rate of 300 to 350 during the same period of 2016 to 2019, according to the Police Chief David Crockarell.
One of those calls resulted in an arson investigation underway after a house was hit by fireworks and set on fire. Some of the calls resulted in arrests, according to the press release.
Property damage from fireworks in 2020 totaled more than $ 250,000, according to Clarksville fire officials. In one case, fireworks caused serious injury to a minor.
In Clarksville, fireworks can be set off within city limits only July 1-5 between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.
It’s against the law:
- To bring fireworks to any city park or on city property, except for city sponsored events.
- For anyone under the age of 16 to use or possess fireworks except under the direct supervision of an adult.
- To set off fireworks within 600 feet of any church, hospital, asylum, public school or within 200 feet of where the fireworks are stored or sold.
- To start fireworks inside a vehicle or launch fireworks at a vehicle.
- Throwing or aiming fireworks at people, groups of people or houses (this is a new law this year).
The city’s free annual Independence Day celebration will take place on Saturday July 3 at Liberty Park. The park will open at 5 p.m. with entertainment and music at 6:50 p.m. and the fireworks display at 9 p.m.
Clarksville Police offered these fireworks handling safety tips:
- Know your fireworks, read the labels and understand the specifications before you light them.
- A responsible adult, 18 years of age or older, must supervise and ensure the proper use of the fireworks.
- Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as safety glasses and gloves, when shooting fireworks.
- Light one fireworks display at a time then walk away.
- Make sure the fireworks are used outdoors in an open area, away from buildings, cars, or other potential hazards. Keep away from dry grass, brush, leaves and flammable substances.
- Have a bucket of water, a loaded garden hose, or a fire extinguisher nearby.
- Don’t rekindle a failed firework display. Wait 20 minutes then soak it in a bucket of water.
- Fireworks should not be carried in your pocket or fired from metal or glass containers.
- Exhausted fireworks can still be a fire hazard, so wet them and place them in a metal trash can away from a building or combustible materials.
- Be very careful with sparklers, they can reach temperatures over 1200 degrees.