Cities with firework bans issued few citations on July 4th weekend

Beavercreek, Dayton, Kettering and Oakwood issued a combined one citation; police say enforcement is difficult

Four area cities that outlawed consumer fireworks issued a combined one citation for violating those laws, despite a barrage of fireworks in many neighborhoods last weekend.

Beavercreek, Dayton, Fairborn, Germantown, Kettering and Oakwood all opted out of Ohio House Bill 172, which Gov. Mike DeWine signed last year. As of July 1, the law allows the discharge of consumer-grade fireworks on private property, and permits people to set off fireworks on specific days, including the Fourth of July weekend, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and other holidays.

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Last week, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that at least nine people died and an estimated 11,500 were injured in incidents involving fireworks in 2021. But Dayton police are hoping for voluntary compliance with the city’s fireworks ban, in part because it is a challenging law to enforce, said assistant police chief Eric Henderson.

Dayton

The Dayton Police Department responded to 73 calls involving fireworks from Friday, July 1 through Independence Day. Police say they issued some warnings, but made no citations or arrests. Additionally, there were no fireworks injuries reported to authorities in Dayton, though there were some in neighboring jurisdictions. In Trotwood, a teenage boy was injured by a firework Tuesday night, and taken by a neighbor to be treated at Children’s Medical Center, Trotwood police said.

Citizens who call 911 or police to report fireworks going off in their neighborhoods often do not know exactly where the fireworks are being ignited or who is doing it, Henderson said. Many people set off fireworks on private property that have privacy fences and other ways to conceal the activity.

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“It is difficult to enforce, but at the same time, if we get any complaints about potential safety issues, those are things we try to follow up on,” Henderson said.

But setting off fireworks is a misdemeanor offense, and Henderson said police often have higher-priority calls they need to handle.

Fireworks are dangerous and can lead to injuries, fires and property damage, which is why Dayton police “try to educate the public on why it’s best to leave fireworks to the professionals,” he said.

Kettering

Police in Kettering responded to 20 fireworks complaints from July 1 through July 4, said public information officer Tyler Johnson.

An arrest warrant and one summons was served as a result of the complaints, Johnson said. The summons was issued for discharging fireworks inside the city. The warrant was not directly linked to fireworks complaints, but the result of officer contact in the area of a complaint.

Kettering Police “takes all calls for service seriously and is confident in our officers to use sound discretion when responding to any complaint in the community,” he added.

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Oakwood

Oakwood authorities received nine calls for service and/or complaints from July 1 through Monday, but made no arrests and issued no citations, Safety Director Alan Hill said in an email.

The calls were “general firework complaints,” with frequency, noise and size of the pyrotechnics among the issues, he said.

In several instances, “fireworks were found to be coming from an adjacent jurisdiction, or not happening when officers arrived, and responding officers could never find the source of the complaint,” Hill added.

“For the others, officers made contact with the individuals discharging fireworks, they were advised of city ordinance, and individuals stopped. No further action required to be taken,” he said.

Beavercreek

The Beavercreek Police Department responded to 37 complaints from July 1 through July 4. Last year, the department received a total 31 complaints, and 30 complaints in 2020, according to city communications manager Katy Carrico. Police issued no citations over the course of the weekend because “no violations were founded,” she said.

** City of Fairborn officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment on fireworks enforcement.