Fire Department reminds residents fireworks are not allowed

Written by Muleskinner Staff

By NICOLE COOKE (digitalBURG) – As the July Fourth holiday quickly approaches, fireworks tents are starting to appear, and the Warrensburg Fire Department wants to remind residents that fireworks are not allowed within city limits.
Warrensburg follows the 2006 international fire code, and allowing fireworks is a violation of that code. Jeremy VanWey, fire and emergency prevention officer with the WFD, said that some cities make an exemption just for the holiday, but WFD made the decision to stick with the fire code.
“Some cities make an exemption for a day or a few days, but the fire department here has taken the position, with support from city council, to not allow it (fireworks),” he said.
The use, sale and possession of fireworks is prohibited, and violators are cited with a fireworks violation, meaning a trip to court. There are no exemptions within the law. Everything from sparklers to large multi-effect items are not allowed.
Even with the law in place, there are still a few cases each year of someone using fireworks within city limits.
“Last year we had about four or five fires that we believe were started from fireworks, and several incidents where police officers confiscated fireworks from individuals,” VanWey said. “It’s not a big problem, but each year we have a few people do it.”
Among those incidents last year were a few grass fires, as well as a fire at an apartment complex. VanWey said the complex didn’t catch fire, but the fire did damage to the siding and the exterior of the building.
This year has seen significantly more rain than last year, but VanWey said the danger of hot and dry weather is still there during this time of year.
“Typically this time of year vegetation is drying out, even with as much moisture as we’ve had,” he said. “The drought is still carrying over from last year. It’s still not quite back to normal yet, even with all the rain.”
There has been some confusion, as there are several fireworks tents located in Warrensburg. VanWey clarified that those tents, including one in the parking lot of Carlyle Van Lines, are just outside the city limits, making their sales legal. He laughed as he answered the question, saying that it was a common question and he just had a phone call the other day asking about the Carlyle tent.
WFD does allow one public display each year. The annual Freedom Spectacular fireworks display, sponsored by Grover Park Baptist Church, Warrensburg Parks and Recreation, and American Legion Post 131 begins at 6:30 p.m. July 4 at the church. There will be free hotdogs, a bounce house and games, followed by a performance by the Warrensburg Community Band at 7:30 p.m. Fireworks will begin after dark.
To have this public fireworks display, VanWey said there are special rules and regulations they have to follow, such as having a site inspection and insurance requirements.
“It provides an opportunity for residents to have a public display that everyone can come and enjoy,” he said. “Before the church did it, other groups did it. We try to do at least one display in town.”
VanWey and the WFD aren’t the only ones who advocate for fireworks safety. Fireworks retailers are also trying to help lower the number of firework injuries each year.
For those who won’t be spending the holiday in Warrensburg, safety is still key to having a good time says Michael Collar, president of Winco Fireworks in Lone Jack, Mo.
“Firework injuries are currently at an all-time low,” Collar said. “I encourage everyone to follow the simple guidelines provided by the American Pyrotechnics Association to make sure that your holiday celebrations are not only fun, but safe as well.”
According to a report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, sparklers cause 17 percent of all consumer firework injuries, showing that caution should be taken with all types of fireworks. The report was the results of a study on fireworks injuries from June 17 to July 17, 2011.
More than half of the injuries in the report were the result of consumers not using fireworks as intended.
As families start to light fireworks during their Fourth of July parties at home, Winco and the APA advise that everyone uses the following guidelines to help prevent these injuries when using any type of firework:
-Always read and follow the directions on the product’s label
-Have a working garden hose or bucket of water handy
-Use fireworks outdoors in a safe, flat and non-wooded area
-Keep everyone a safe distance away from fireworks
-Never allow young children to handle fireworks or sparklers
-Always have a sober adult in charge of all fireworks activities
-Light one firework at a time
-Never re-light fireworks
-Never shoot fireworks in a metal or glass container
“We hope everyone enjoys the July Fourth holiday and that they use good judgment and to be careful if they decide to go somewhere else and use fireworks,” VanWey said. “The best recommendation is to let someone else do it and pick one of the public displays. Leave the fireworks to the professionals and enjoy their shows.”
For more information on fireworks laws in Warrensburg, contact VanWey at 660-262-4654 or [email protected]. For more information on fireworks safety, visit