Fireworks on E.L. officials' mind with upcoming holiday

As summer holidays approach, East Lansing residents have been reminded to take note of the fireworks ordinance put in place last fall.

On October 10, 2012, East Lansing Ordinance No. 1283 banned the ignition, discharge and use of consumer fireworks except on the day before, the day of and the day after a national holiday.

Consumer fireworks are fireworks that explode and/or leave the ground. These do not include low-impact fireworks, such as ground-based sparklers, smoke bombs, party poppers and caps.

“If you are doing (fireworks) in a neighborhood, which is where we get most of our complaints, it still could not be totally safe when they are going over the top of people’s houses,” East Lansing Police Capt. Jeff Murphy said. “It’s always going to be better … to go to some open area away from homes, trees and garages.”

Murphy said fireworks are generally an issue in densely populated student neighborhoods where residue could land on roofs.

City Manager George Lahanas said the ordinance was passed because of complaints the city council received from citizens.

The Michigan Fireworks Safety Act, which became effective January 1, 2012, allowed the sale and use of consumer fireworks. Previously, any fireworks that left the ground were prohibited.

“(The) state law provided for the fact that local ordinances could make things more restrictive, so we passed one that made it more restrictive,” Lahanas said. “We went to the maximum you could under the state law, which means you can basically use them only on national holidays.”

Construction management junior Jake Bennett said he anticipates the Fourth of July weekend every year when he lights off $200 to $300 worth of fireworks as a tradition.

“I use (the ordinance) more as a general guideline than an actual rule,” Bennett said. “I definitely use (fireworks) responsibly. I always try to pay attention to how I’m using them and how I light them off.”

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