Spanish Fort debates fireworks rules


SPANISH FORT – While shooting fireworks is allowed twice a year in Spanish Fort, complaints from some residents has one City Council member questioning the practice.

The Spanish Fort noise ordinance bans setting off fireworks in the city limits except for New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and July 4.

At the Spanish Fort City Council work session Monday, Jan. 3, Councilwoman Mary Brabner said the level of explosions on the most recent New Year’s Eve was more than in the past.

“I had a call from a constituent about the fireworks and it comes up every year. They were off the charts this year even though it was wet,” Brabner said.

She said one woman called her to say that the explosions were disturbing her husband, who has dementia.

“He didn’t understand,” Brabner said. “He was very disoriented, more so than normal, with these fireworks. I don’t think those are things that any of us who voted to approve fireworks thought about, but there are so many people with problems with fireworks that I would love us to think about how we can do something different.”

She said that the city cannot stop all use of fireworks, but residents who use them should be aware that the explosions bother many people and pets.

Mayor Mike McMillan said banning fireworks on New Year’s Eve and July 4 would not stop their use.

“I’m not sure how we could control it,” McMillan said. “Even the cities that have no fireworks, it happens. The police would be run ragged. I understand what you’re saying, I do, but I don’t know how you could close it.”

Brabner said she felt that a ban would reduce the level of noise, even if the prohibition did not stop everyone from setting off fireworks.

“If we closed it, it would diminish it,” she said. “Would it take it away totally? No.”

She said litter from the debris left by exploded fireworks has also been a problem in the past. She said she did not see as much debris this year but speculated that the rains after the event may have washed some of the litter into city storm drains.

The city noise ordinance, adopted in 2007, allows residents to set off fireworks between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. July 4, from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on New Year’s Eve and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Jan. 1.