Marshalltown police receive numerous fireworks reports
Numerous recent incidents of fireworks have prompted Marshalltown residents to make reports. There have been 49 calls made to the Marshalltown Police Department since June 16.
Police Chief Mike Tupper said so far, there have not been as many reports as the same time last year.
“In past years, the number was much bigger,” he said. “We have not had as many, but things are ramping up a little bit the closer we get to the Fourth.”
`The vast majority of the calls have been made from residential areas. Tupper said lighting off fireworks is a very under-reported crime and said neighbors just might not be reporting it at all times it happens.
Lighting in residential areas is very dangerous, and Tupper said people generally do not use good judgement when it comes to fireworks. This year also has most of Marshall County in a severe drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Marshalltown Fire Chief David Rierson said the rain received last week makes him less concerned about potential fires caused by the July pyrotechnics. The potential for rain in the forecast also helps, but he said no one knows what will happen.
Rierson said the state of Iowa in 2017 put a lot of cities and counties in a bind when they legalized fireworks.
“They passed it without allowing cities to decide whether or not to allow the sales,” he said.
Rierson stressed even though the sales are happening in Marshalltown, residents need to refrain from setting them off in the city. Going outside the city is easier said than done. He said people cannot just leave Marshalltown and light off the pyrotechnics. Permission from landowners must be obtained first.
People receiving citations in Marshalltown could receive a fine up to $750 and Tupper said more steps could be taken. Even though the police department can issue citations, the system is not perfect. Tupper said they are doing the best they can.
“For repeat offenders, they could potentially have their fireworks seized and potentially could go to jail,” he said.
Safety was urged by both city chiefs.
“We are entering the fireworks season with 10 fingers and 10 toes and we want everyone to leave the season with 10 fingers and 10 toes,” Tupper said. “More often than not, it is kids who get hurt. People need to be smart and obey the law.”
Rierson had a suggestion for Marshalltown residents.
“Go to the Central Iowa Fairgrounds and watch the $30,000 fireworks display for free,” he said.
Contact Lana Bradstream at 641-753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.