Fireworks complaints up this year
Fireworks complaints were up this year.
Great Falls Police Chief Dave Bowen told City Commissioners during their July 7 meeting that from July 2-5 over the last three years calls for service were:
- 2018: 60
- 2019: 79
- 2020: 96
Bowen said it may indicate a growing intolerance for fireworks within the city limits, particularly outside the times and dates they are allowed under city ordinance.
Great Falls Fire Marshal said that from July 2-5 there were five grass fires and two dumpster fires related to fireworks.
Bowen said no fireworks citations have been issued in the last three years since fireworks are typically a lower priority call and by the time officers arrive, the incident is over and/or people scatter. He said it’s a question of a firework complaint is worth a foot pursuit.
Bowen said that years ago, he and the fire chief worked to develop the ordinance as it exists now, which was a compromise to limit the usage of fireworks within the city while still allowing them.
Several years ago, Mayor Bob Kelly held a town hall about fireworks that generated heated discussion but no changes to the ordinance that only allows fireworks July 2-4.
Bowen said fireworks did seem worse this year than usual, perhaps related to COVID-19, which has been widely reported nationwide.
Commissioners received several emails regarding fireworks complaints and Commissioner Rick Tryon said he personally fielded numerous complaints.
He said he loves July 4 celebrations, but “I have never heard it as bad as it was.”
Commissioner Mary Moe said she also received calls about fireworks.