Despite Being Illegal – City Residents Still Use Fireworks
The use of fireworks in the Missoula city limits has been illegal for several years, but that doesn’t seem to keep many residents from shooting off fireworks during the 4th of July season.
Fire Inspector with the Missoula City Fire Department Charles Talbot said on Thursday that his office gets many reports of fireworks within the city limits.
“Unfortunately, we still get a lot of complaints,” said Talbot. “It just seems like fireworks and the 4th of July are fairly synonymous. People want to set fireworks off on and around the 4th of July. Maybe we don’t do a good enough job advertising the fact that fireworks are illegal in the city. I know the fire department puts on extra people that go around and try to educate people that fireworks are not legal in the city.”
Talbot said if a fire or injury results from someone using fireworks in the city limits there could be liability issues for whoever is responsible.
“Liability-wise, if you start a fire with fireworks or by any other means, you are liable for the costs of putting it out as well as the cost of damages,” he said. “We typically go on two or three fireworks related fires every 4th of July. I’ve been in the bureau for five years and we pick two or three or four that are fireworks caused.”
Talbot said fireworks are unpredictable, and so they are not safe to use. He said they should only be used by an adult, outside the city limits, preferably on a parking lot or a flat surface away from flammable materials, and that children should never be allowed to handle fireworks.
“The only types of fireworks that are allowed are novelty ite4ms, such as snakes, poppers and sparklers,” he said.
According to the Missoula City Ordnance, the first offense can carry a $100.00 fine, while subsequent violations can be fined $300.00.
There will be a fireworks display at Ogren Park on July 3, and the Southgate Mall fireworks show is returning on July 4 with the Missoula City Band, followed by the fireworks show at dusk.