BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Around Independence Day every year, calls come in to the Beckley Police Department night after night about fireworks.
“The biggest thing we hear is, ‘I bought them but I’m not allowed to use them?” said Lt. Jason McDaniel. “A lot of people don’t know the rules. If you live inside the city limits, there are separate rules from the state.”
As soon as the sun dips below the horizon, the explosions begin, stressing out neighbors with kids, dogs and PTSD.
“People are trying to sleep. They go to bed at nine or 10 o’clock and right now, it’s not getting dark until 9 o’clock, so people are waiting until 9:30 to start setting the fireworks off. The neighbors are getting annoyed, saying they can’t sleep, ‘my dogs are barking,’ or ‘it’s aggravating my dogs,’ and things of that nature.”
McDaniel says most people simply don’t realize they aren’t allowed to set off fireworks. Other restrictions include needing to be at least 18-years-old to light a firework or under direct supervision and requiring permission to shoot off fireworks within 100 feet of any building.
“We ask them to please refrain [from shooting fireworks] because neighbors do have a problem with it. Like I said, 90% of people that we deal with don’t know the city ordinance. They think, ‘since I can go out here to Walmart’s parking lot and buy the fireworks, they’re legal in the city.’ Well, there [are] more restrictions in the city.”
If police inform you of the ordinance and you still don’t comply, that could mean legal trouble.
“There is a city code for the fireworks ordinance that they are charged under. Actually, yesterday, someone was charged under that code.”
With that code in place, you may have to pay a hefty fine.