Rhode Islanders fed up with fireworks set off at late hours during week

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE)– It’s not uncommon to hear fireworks this time of year, but a number of Rhode Islanders say they are fed up with loud explosions during the week and at late hours.

“We were yelling out the window, people are trying to sleep, there are disabled people that live in this building,” said Gail Montella of Pawtucket.

Montella said the fireworks are being set off as late as 2:30 in the morning.

Some residents said they don’t mind the fireworks if they’re set off earlier in the evening.

“It’s when people don’t start until 10:30 to 11 o’clock at night when kids are in bed and people need to be up for work,” another resident from Pawtucket said.  “I get that a lot of people are out of work still and they don’t have much to do. I get it– they’re fun, they’re great– but people need to have a little respect.”

It’s not just Pawtucket; viewers sent in videos to ABC6 News from towns including Warwick and Coventry.

In Rhode Island, aerial fireworks off the ground, which can be seen in the videos and pictures, are illegal. Exceptions include ground-based and hand-held sparkling devices.

Any person in violation can be charged with a felony and charged up to $1,ooo.

However, Lt. Robert Hart, of the Warwick Police Department, said he tries to give people a warning and educate them on the law.

“If the involving party is acting egregiously or has large amounts of fireworks the officer may elect to make an arrest and seize any remaining illegal fireworks,” Hart said.

Hart said the department responds to all calls, including fireworks complaints; but if officers are tied up, it is not a priority.

“At times it is difficult to determine the location the fireworks are coming from because they may be going off sporadically or it may be congested neighborhood and officers cant see into backyards,” Hart said.

11-13-1. Sale, use or possession of fireworks.

(a) No person shall offer for sale at retail or at wholesale, shall possess or have under his or her control, use or explode, or cause to explode for exhibition or amusement, display fireworks or aerial consumer fireworks unless permits are obtained pursuant to this chapter and chapter 23-28.11. Display fireworks are defined in the American pyrotechnic association standard 87-1 (APA 87-1) 2001 Edition section 2.7.2 and are classified as explosives 1.3G by the U.S. department of transportation (U.S. DOT), UN0335. Aerial consumer fireworks are defined in APA 87-1 2001 Edition section 3.1.2. and are classified 1.4G U.S. DOT, UN 0336. Certain fireworks and devices that are exempt from the definitions of display fireworks and aerial consumer fireworks shall include, but are not limited to, the following: ground-based and hand-held sparkling devices (non-aerial fireworks) as defined in APA 87-1 2001 Edition sections 3.1.1 and 3.5, and include the following: fountains, illuminating torches, wheels, ground spinners, flitter sparklers, sparkers; novelties, which are defined in the APA 87-1 2001 Edition section 3.2 and include the following: party poppers, snappers, toy smoke devices, snakes, glow worms, wire sparklers and dipped sticks; paper caps containing not more than twenty-five hundredths (0.025) grains of explosive mixture ammunition to be consumed by weapons used for sporting and hunting purposes, and model rockets and model rocket engines, designed, sold and used for the purpose of propelling recoverable aero models). The storage, possession, sale, transportation and use of the items in the above reference section that are not included in the definition of display fireworks and aerial consumer fireworks shall be allowed at all times throughout the state for persons at least sixteen (16) years of age. Permits for display fireworks and aerial consumer fireworks for commercial display may be issued in accordance with provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code, chapters 28.1 – 28.39 of title 23. Fireworks display of display and aerial consumer fireworks by any municipality, fair association, amusement park, or other organization or group of individuals is permitted, on condition that the display shall be made by a competent operator approved by the local fire authority and shall be of such character as in the opinion of the fire authority will not be hazardous to persons or property; and, provided further, that the foregoing shall not apply the use of display and aerial consumer fireworks by common carriers for signal or illumination purposes, the use of blank cartridges in any show or theater, the use of explosives for blasting, the use of display and aerial consumer fireworks as signals in any athletic or sporting event, the use of display and aerial consumer fireworks for ceremonial or military purposes, the sale of fireworks for shipment out of this state, or the sale of fireworks for any use permitted pursuant to this section, provided the person who sells, stores or transports display and aerial consumer fireworks has a permit as required by the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code, chapters 28.1 – 28.39 of title 23.

(b) Any person violating the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a felony and shall be fined not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each offense and/or imprisoned for not more than one year for each offense; except that any person using or having in his or her possession without a permit with intent to use display and aerial consumer fireworks with a value of under five hundred dollars ($500) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction be fined not exceeding five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense and/or imprisoned for not more than one year for each offense.

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