Local enforcement officials are preparing for an increase in calls concerning personal fireworks complaints, especially given that most communities have canceled their displays due to COVID-19.
“We’ve already handled some complaints and I do think we will be busier this year because no communities really are having their community displays this year,” said Henry County Sheriff Michael Bodenbender.
“They are still illegal though, and we will respond to any complaints we receive,” he added.
A first visit likely will involve a warning being issued, and the sheriff hopes that takes care of any issue.
“When we do respond, I hope they heed the warning and we don’t have to come back a second time,” Bodenbender added.
Napoleon Police Chief David Mack said his department is also anticipating more calls of complaints this year.
“Education, safety and more education, hopefully that will take care of the bulk of the complaints,” Mack said.
He stressed he hopes residents would be conscious of their neighbors when setting off fireworks.
Mack also said legislation passed by the Ohio House recently that would make some previously illegal fireworks in Ohio legal may compound the problem.
On June 4, House Bill 253 passed 78-17. It would make changes to the fireworks ordinance in effect in Ohio. Among other things, the bill would allow consumers to be able to purchase consumer-grade fireworks and shoot them off on their property, or that of another if they have permission.
It would prohibit shooting off fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
With passage in the House, the bill will be sent to the Senate, which also already has a similar bill in its committee process. However, the fourth committee hearing on it was held in January.