Council will consider resolution seeking fireworks ban

Council will consider resolution seeking fireworks ban

PAWTUCKET – City Councilor Mark Wildenhain discussed with his colleagues to approve a resolution last Wednesday, July 8, asking the Rhode Island General Assembly to draft legislation to ban all fireworks in the state.

“As City Council members, we are asked and expected to solve our constituents’ problems, and it’s frustrating when we get a call and we feel as helpless as the person on the other end of the phone,” he wrote in a letter.

The complaints on fireworks have been the most challenging of all, said Wildenhain.

“We are in a position that we cannot pass laws that are in conflict with state law,” he said. “I have heard from almost everyone from mothers with small children and pet owners and people with PTSD all suffering from this bombardment since May.”

“We have a responsibility to be good neighbors and when people are not, they should be held responsible for their lack of concern or care for the people hey live around,” he said.

Fireworks bring no value to the city or state, said Wildenhain, devaluing the quality of life for residents, and the state has an obligation to all communities to make laws to address it.

Councilor John Barry III agreed, saying the past few weeks of fireworks in Pawtucket neighborhoods has been unlike anything he’s seen.

“This has been horrible,” he said. “I feel like I’ve been worthless in protecting my constituents.”

Police have been out in unmarked cars and making arrests, he said, but there’s only so much they can do. People are frustrated and afraid of the dangers involved with aerial fireworks going off in tight quarters.

In addition to a resolution to the state, Barry said he is also in favor of enacting some sort of local ordinances in an effort to make fireworks illegal.

“They’re terrorizing people,” he said.

Barry said his dog will turn 5 years old this week and he’s never seen him react the way he did over the weekend, panting and pacing as fireworks were set off all around the neighborhood. The cumulative effect on everyone and their pets has been immense, said Barry.

“People have had it,” he said.

Council President David Moran said he’s open to having a discussion on the idea, saying there’s no doubt that Pawtucket is seeing more of an issue with fireworks this year, likely due to people missing the sanctioned displays amid the pandemic. Enforcement remains an issue, he said, and he questions whether a ban would change that.

Moran said he’s not sure if the General Assembly would consider any changes this year, giving local officials some time to come up with something if they desire. He said there’s no doubt that there’s been a big increase in illegal aerial fireworks this year, with more complaints than ever, and it seems like what the state did to legalize ground-based fireworks while keeping a prohibition on aerial ones is not working.

Comments

Allowing fireworks at McCoy stadium almost every weekend might have given people the idea that its ok to fire off illegal ones in their neighborhood, not caring about the dangers associated with doing so. Until the law is enforced, it will continue. Its just the latest example of inconsiderate behavior that is on the rise in out country.

Please do ban fireworks! My neighbor continually lights illegal fireworks and shoots them off above my home. He is welcome to destroy his own property from a fire caused by his fireworks but that will not be the case. The sales tax revenue brought in are not worth the potential injuries, mental anguish for those suffering with PTSD, and property damage caused by fireworks. Revisit the current law and make fireworks illegal!