COLUMBIA — Some Columbia residents probably know that it's against city ordinance to shoot off fireworks inside city limits. But do you know that it is also illegal to discharge a torpedo?
With the Fourth of July nearing, Columbia police are warning against illegal use of fireworks in city limits, and MU Health Care is giving safety tips in the event that residents do use them.
At least one Columbia resident now knows how serious Columbia police are about enforcing the fireworks ordinance.
Sam Karson, a 22-year-old MU graduate, was setting off fireworks with friends near his home within Columbia city limits on Monday night when a police officer showed up. “I didn’t know that it was illegal to set off fireworks in Columbia, so when the police came I told them that, and they gave me a warning,” he said.
Karson said the officer was nice about the situation, explaining that if he and his friends were outside the city limits they could set them off all they wanted.
According to Section 16-234 of the Columbia Code of Ordinances, “Every person who shall discharge any gun, pistol, revolver or any other firearm or air rifle, or shall use, burn, explode or set off any firecracker, torpedo, bomb, rocket, pinwheel, fire balloon, Roman candles or any other firecracker or fireworks within the city shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor.”
As in previous years, Columbia police sent out their pre-holiday news release reminding city residents that police will be patrolling “to deter disturbances" caused by illegal fireworks. Columbia residents who are found to have set off fireworks are likely to have them confiscated by police.
An alternative to setting off your own fireworks this year is Fire in the Sky at Memorial Stadium. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and is free.
Even though it is illegal to discharge fireworks, many Columbia residents still do. MU Health Care has this advice:
- Never give fireworks to children.
- At least one adult should supervise the use of fireworks.
- Wear protective glasses.
- Only use fireworks outdoors.
- Always have a water hose nearby.
If you are injured while discharging fireworks, MU Health Care says you should “cool the burn with cold water, not ice or ice water. Clean the area and cover the burn.”
Although the Columbia Code of Ordinances does allow for permits to be issued to discharge fireworks in Columbia, Steven Sapp, Columbia Fire Department battalion chief said private citizens are not able to obtain those. “Usually we only issue three permits a year” to licensed professionals with training and liability insurance, he said.