With the Independence Day holiday just around the corner, Greensburg Mayor Gary Herbert, Chief of Police Stacey Chasteen and Fire Chief Scott Chasteen took time Wednesday morning to discuss the proper use of fireworks.
With local radio station WTRE as their forum and personality Mark Gravely as their moderator, the trio of city officials spoke of the hazards posed by fireworks, proper usage of the festive Fourth of July items, and the steps to take when setting them off in residential areas.
Last year’s drought led to a months-long delay in the annual county fireworks celebration, but there will be no such problems this year. With weather returning to normal, Greensburg and Decatur County citizens are free to again celebrate the nation’s birth in the usual manner. The mayor and respective chiefs only hope everyone will do so responsibly.
“If you’re in a neighborhood, be cognizant of your neighbors,” said Scott Chasteen. “Be respectful of your neighbors.”
Those comments were echoed by Mayor Herbert who added, “Be careful; have fun – but most importantly, be safe.”
Safety – both for those using fireworks as well as those around them – was at the forefront of Wednesday’s conversation.
Improper use of fireworks that leads to injury of another person is a class “D” felony, according to information provided by Indiana State Police Sgt. Noel Houze. If a person dies from the misuse of consumer fireworks, the perpetrator can be charged with a class “C” felony. Causing property damage is a misdemeanor while violating laws and regulations can lead to citations.
One of the most important rules to remember, however, is the simple fact that fireworks use is confined to the user’s property unless specific permission is given by another, such as a neighbor.
“What goes up on your property must come down on your property,” Scott Chasteen said in summation. “You’re liable for any damages done to someone else’s property.”