• 46°

Officials say fireworks legal in city, but still dangerous

NATCHEZ — A longstanding belief that setting off fireworks in Natchez is illegal has now come into question, though authorities still strongly urge residents to avoid the practice.

Approaching his first Fourth of July as Natchez Police Chief, Walter Armstrong said after doing some research he could not find any law on the books prohibiting fireworks usage within city limits, despite what he had previously thought.

“I wish it was an ordinance,” Armstrong said.

Based on his understanding, Armstrong said, the idea of a fireworks ban worked more as a de facto ordinance, with officials having thought for the past several decades that such a law existed when in reality, that does not appear to be the case.

After aiding Armstrong in his research, Fire Chief Aaron Wesley said he too found no sign of such a law, even when digging back into the city’s older ordinances.

“There should be one. There needs to be,” Wesley said.

Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell said he remembered being told about this ordinance when he was a little boy, recalling a time when his brother had tried to pop firecrackers that he had just purchased.

“My oldest brother went in the store to buy firecrackers, went out on the street and started popping them, and the people in the store called the police,” Grennell said.

The city’s current attorney, Bob Latham, said though he had assumed such an ordinance existed, no one had ever asked him to look into it.

Even if in fact no ordinance exists, public safety officials still strongly caution against using fireworks in the city because of the potential to start fires in residential areas.

“Overall, I just think it’s a good time to celebrate, but in the past, I know we have gone to car fires … we have gone to house fires (started by) fireworks,” Wesley said.

And even though no law appears to strictly prohibit the fireworks, use of such instruments could violate the city’s noise ordinance that police will still be enforcing, Armstrong and Wesley said.

To alleviate the potential for fires, Wesley said residents should clear debris surrounding their houses, such as dry grass and leaves. Otherwise, he said, any sort of spark from fireworks could then lead to a destructive house fire.

“If something lands in that debris, it’s just an ignition point right there waiting to happen,” Wesley said.

Both the fire and police chiefs urged city residents to avoid shooting off any projectile that flies into the air and would have an uncontrollable path.

Additionally, they said, rather than shooting their own fireworks, citizens should consider watching the fireworks show that will be part of the Fourth of July Festival put on by the Vidalia Beautification Committee on the Vidalia riverfront from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. today with the fireworks show commencing at dusk, approximately 8:15 p.m., over the Mississippi River and viewable from both sides of the river.

News

Neighbor helping neighbor a common sight after winter storm

News

Supervisors: No employee raises possible because of budget concerns

News

Chamber pot spares Stanton Hall from further storm damage

News

Supervisors approve payment system for attorneys

News

3 alleged to have broken into vehicles in Beau Pre in Adams County custody

News

Six scouts sworn in as Eagle Scouts together

News

Dart:Sagos mix business with Rhythm Night Club passion project

News

J&J’s 1-dose shot cleared, giving US 3rd COVID-19 vaccine

News

Author Richard Grant speaks about book, Natchez at Natchez Literary and Cinema Celebration

Business

New machinery introduced at Natchez countertop business

News

Vidalia still under boil water advisory after winter storm

News

Natchez hires assistance for storm cleanup

News

Bishop Gunn lead singer McCready arrested Thursday in Concordia Parish

News

Vidalia missing teen found after extensive search

News

Law enforcement agencies continue search for missing 17-year-old

News

Natchez hires help in procuring disaster relief funds due to winter storm damage

News

Officials OK signs for high school sports championship row

DEVELOPING NEWS

Adams County Water Association lifts boil water notice

COVID-19

Teachers, first responders to be eligible for vaccine Monday

News

Mississippi House votes to overhaul several state taxes

News

Three men arrested in connection with 2018 double homicide

News

Natchez Water Works lifts boil water advisory

News

Ferriday man arrested for alleged assault on power line workers

News

Health care workers excited to open Trinity Medical Center