Local Woman Speaks Out Against Illegal Fireworks

Local woman takes fireworks complaint to City Council.

Posted: Jun. 4, 2018 7:18 PM

(St. Joseph,MO) Independence Day is often celebrated with large fireworks displays, but as we get closer to the holiday more people are shooting fireworks outside of the legal time frame set the city.

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Pat Benedict said she is already seeing an excessive use of fireworks in her neighborhood.

"I dread the fourth of July, because every fourth of July the fireworks get out of control in my neighborhood," Benedict said. “They aren't the small fireworks that you grew up with. Theses are like large, bomb explosion fireworks."

Fireworks can only be purchased and set off inside city limits from June 20 through July 10 and must remain on the ground aafter being lit.

Benedict said the fireworks being set off near her home are causing problems for her dog, Elvira.

"We have to heavily medicate her. We have to use a thundershirt on her. We have to walk and exhaust her, because if we don't she tears up the house," Benedict said.

According to Sergeant Roy Hoskins from the St. Joseph Police Department, the city ordinance hasn’t stopped people from shooting off fireworks early.

“We get lots of calls and they are starting now and they will pick up progressively as we get closer to the fourth of July,” Hoskins said.

This summer officers are also on the lookout for people trying to detonate their own homemade fireworks

“We’ve not out to spoil people’s fun, it is a fun time of year. But particularly we don’t want people messing with homemade explosives or fireworks, that’s where we tend to run into the injuries,” Hoskins said.

According to Hoskin people found shooting off any illegal or homemade fireworks will be fined. Benedict said she has already heard several fireworks go off near her home.

“We had one last friday, I was cleaning the house and we had this huge explosion and the neighbors came out. Someone off of Buchanan street had already lit some huge bomb,” Benedict said.

City Councilman PJ Kovacs has been operating PJ’s Fireworks since 1988 and said there are several smaller fireworks you can legally shoot off inside the city for the fourth of July.

"You can shoot all of the little kids novelty stuff; snappers, fountains, stuff like that, just as long as something doesn't leave the ground, go up in the air and explode, that's illegal to shoot in the city," Kovac said.

Benedict will present a letter of concern over the illegal fireworks being set off in her neighborhood at the City Council meeting Monday evening at 7 p.m.

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