Police to write trespassing, litter tickets during fireworks week

By Carolyn Cole
Published on June 21, 2008

Mustang business owners who want to keep fireworks off their property can put up signs and tape barriers during the season, which police officials say they will enforce.

Discharging fireworks is legal in Mustang from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through July 3 and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 4. Police Capt. Willard James said business owners can “clearly mark” their property as off limits to fireworks enthusiasts, and police will issue trespassing citations.

“They don’t have a right to go anywhere they want — that is private property,” he said. “It’s a business location, and they would have to have the permission of the owners.”

Wild Horse Park will also be off limits for fireworks on July 28 as thousands flock to the park for the firefighter’s 39th annual bean supper.

The city’s public fireworks display will be held in the park, with the show starting between 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

That ban includes Wild Horse Park pond, the veterans’ monument, the picnic pavilion, playground, front lawns and parking lots around Town Center and City Hall.
“There are too many people,” James said.

On the other days, he said police will direct visitors to Wild Horse Park to shoot off their fireworks. Safety is top priority this year, James said.

Earlier this year, 2,161 residents returned surveys after concerns were raised about fireworks use inside the city limits. Twenty-seven percent of respondents wanted fireworks to be banned, while 34 percent suggested ordinance changes.

City Council members voted to not change ordinances, supporting their decision based on the 38 percent of respondents who voted for no change.

During discussions, police reported issuing 32 fireworks-related citations since 2000, while the department received 1,064 related complaints. In the last five years, there were 14 fireworks-related incident reports at the fire department, with one injury reported in 2004.

James said police officers will patrol neighborhoods and issue citations to anyone using fireworks outside of the time period allowed in city ordinance. However, officers cannot issue a citation unless they see the crime occur, he said. Police will issue warnings with a copy of Mustang’s fireworks ordinance.

Ordinances also bar the discharge of fireworks within 500 feet of a fireworks stand, school or church property or unharvested crops.

James said officers will also be on the look out for litter and issuing citations for trash. Dumpsters will be available at Wild Horse Park for the disposal of fireworks trash.

“People did pretty well,” James said. “We are asking them to be conscious of that, they could be cited for littering if they come out here and discharge all of their fireworks and leave their mess.”

James also offered these tips for safer fireworks use:

-Never drink alcohol or use drugs while setting off fireworks. Do not smoke around fireworks.
-Do not buy illegal fireworks. Some of these devices contain explosive compounds that are sensitive to shock or friction.
-Read the instructions before attempting to light fireworks.
-Store fireworks in a cool, dry place and away from children. Never light fireworks that have been wet.
-Child should not use fireworks without adult supervision.
-Don’t wear loose fitting clothing that could ignite if it gets too close to fireworks.
-Do not light fireworks near flammable objects, including dried grass, vehicles and buildings. Never light fireworks in high winds.
-Light fireworks at arm’s length and move a safe distance away once it is lighted.
-Shoot fireworks one at a time, and never shoot fireworks from metal or glass containers.
-Never throw, toss or aim fireworks at another person or animal.
-If fireworks malfunction, don’t attempt to relight them. Soak them in a bucket of water for an hour before throwing them away.
-Keep a bucket of water nearby to extinguish fires. Soak used fireworks in water before placing in a trash container.
-Keep a first aid kit for the treatment of burns. If someone is burned in any area above the shoulders, seek immediate medical treatment.

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