Kokomo emergency means no fireworksJune 27th, 2012 at 5:13 pm by Jim Shella under Jim Shella's Political Blog
State law protects the use of fireworks in the days surrounding the 4th of July whether there is a burn ban in place, or not. Yet a local jurisdiction can prohibit the use the fireworks by issuing an emergency disaster declaration and some are doing so. One of them took effect in Kokomo today.
It’s dry in Kokomo, so dry the city attorney calls it an extreme circumstance that produces imminent danger. So, when the fire chief recommended an emergency declaration, the mayor put one in place.
“We’ve never understood why they just single out fireworks,” says Brian Hudson, the owner of 7 Mr. Fireworks stores where there is a danger that the stacks and stacks of fireworks will go unsold. Hudson is open all year but does 85% of his business in the days surrounding the Fourth of July.
He says the people who use fireworks should be educated on how to use them properly. Instead, he says, the city is using scare tactics. He believes he is being treated unfairly. “I think the people of Howard County, or of Kokomo, are being treated unfairly,” he says.
But Kokomo officials have the backing of State Fire Marshall Jim Greeson who yesterday said it’s a matter of public safety. “No one wants to curtail business or people being able to celebrate the holidays,” said Greeson, “but the last thing we want to happen are a group of people at a public display where some wildfire or a land fire gets going and they are not able to get away from it.”
And so the people of Kokomo prepare for a holiday with no rockets red glare. “Fireworks are alway going to be missed if we don’t have something,” says Dave Parkhurst. Macayla Sitzes says, “It’s really terrible cause it’s something I always look forward to.”
But, at least some of them, including Alex Burke, understand. “I think it’s very necessary at the time,” says Alex Burke, “seeing that we haven’t had any rain for so long.”
Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight’s disaster declaration is good for 7 days. At that point the city council must decide whether to continue it or let it dissolve. That decision will be made on July third.