July 18, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 13

Council debates 'warzone' fireworks

The discussion of banning or heavily restricting fireworks in Medical Lake took a serious step forward as a result of the recent Fourth of July celebration in the city.

Councilman Howard Jorgenson was first to bring up the subject at the Tuesday, July 16 City Council meeting.

“There is a difference between fireworks and these M-80s,” he said, noting that he couldn’t hear the TV in his living room even when it was set at maximum volume.

He further noted that having houses all around lighting off the bigger fireworks was a little too much.

“I don’t know how anybody gets any enjoyment out of lighting these damn bombs that go off and go up and make noise,” Jorgenson said.

Councilmen Jeff King and A.J. Burton also agreed that after living in the city for several years, this year’s fireworks experience was rather frustrating. They reiterated their past support for having fireworks in the city, however said having higher restrictions may help.

“It’s a warzone,” Burton said, echoing those exact words from some constituents in the city.

Corey Stevens, with the Medical Lake Fire Department, said there were two fire apparatuses available at 8 p.m. to handle calls and patrols. He and other fire volunteers went around town and handled visitors from outside the city limits lighting fireworks in parking lots and other public lands, which isn’t allowed in Medical Lake. He also noted those individuals had fireworks that weren’t sold from Medical Lake vendors.

Stevens also said it was difficult to reach any incidents due to fireworks being lit in the middle of roadways.

Suggestions on how to fix the problem ranged from inspecting fireworks as they enter the city to placing signage at city gateways to inform the public that fireworks are only allowed on residential property. Heavy talk about banning fireworks all together was scattered throughout the City Council’s discussion.

City Attorney Cynthia McMullen said, after being prompted, that she could look to see if there was any way to restrict certain types of fireworks without having to work through the one-year requirement for a full ordinance to take effect.

Councilwomen Shirley Maike and Brenda Redell were absent from the meeting.

James Eik can be reached at james@cheneyfreepress.com.

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