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Fireworks prohibited in City

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With the Fourth of July fast approaching comes the annual message that shooting off fireworks is prohibited by ordinance in the city limits of West Fargo. In fact, the sale of fireworks is prohibited throughout the state until today (June 27), and can only continue through July 5.

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Police Chief Arland Rasmussen said that so far fireworks complaints have been quiet, but he's expecting calls for service to increase dramatically in the next week from people complaining about the noise, especially those individuals who work night shifts and must sleep during the day. Overall, the biggest complaint night is the Fourth of July.

He said the true danger is with the fireworks that explode and the potential of something catching on fire, whether it is in areas in yards where homeowners have things stored or the shingles on the rooftops.

Rasmussen said he is aware that people want to shoot off fireworks. He encourages those wishing to do so to take their families somewhere safe outside the city limits for an evening of fun. "It will save you a visit from us (the police department) and some irritation for your neighbors."

Rasmussen said that when Police Officers respond to complaints they first issue warnings, but if the violations continue the individuals will be charged. Fines could range from $50 to much larger amounts if disorderly conduct is involved.

West Fargo Parks Director Barb Erbstoesser also has something to say about the fireworks issue, noting that individuals shooting them off on Park District property has been a real problem in the past. So much so this year, that staff have posted numerous signs throughout its parks stating that no fireworks are allowed, correlating with the City ordinance banning the practice.

Fireworks were a serious problem last year, specifically in Rendezvous Park by Eagle Run, to the extent there were burn spots in the parking lots and on picnic tables. "Fireworks have created a lot of damage in the past as well as litter," Erbstoesser said. "Hopefully people will see the signs and respect the Park property."

Assistant Fire Chief Dell Sprecher reinforced the fire danger involved with lighting off fireworks in the City. "Fireworks are dangerous unless they are lit by adults or individuals who know what they are doing."

Besides physical injury, he said fireworks pose a fire hazard. "I know people will be shooting off fireworks. Just make sure you are outside the City limits, and after you are done shooting them, please pick them up."

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