April 23, 2014

SH residents bring firework concerns to council

Danedri Thompson
dthompson@gardnernews.com

People pulled their barbeque grills into their driveways and spent the day hanging out on the Fourth of July in Spring Hill thanks to an ordinance that allowed residents to launch fireworks in town this year.

“I’ve got a feeling people felt very community-oriented during the whole weekend,” City Administrator Jonathan Roberts told city council members during a meeting July 8.

Merchants display fireworks in Spring Hill late last month. Spring Hill residents at a meeting last week addressed the Spring Hill City Council about noise created by fireworks during the Fourth of July. File photo

But community-oriented aren’t words Don Flanagan, Spring Hill, would use to describe the community celebration of Independence Day. Flanagan said he believed his house may have been targeted by revelers following the holiday.

Flanagan presented plastic bags filled with firework residue he pulled from the roof of his house after the Fourth of July.

“These were bombs that came over my house and exploded,” Flanagan told council members as he passed the residue to council members and city staff. “I know if it hadn’t been raining, I could’ve had a house fire.”

Flanagan said a previous home he owned in Lenexa caught fire after a bottle rocket hit it several years ago.

The Spring Hill fireworks ordinance prohibits the use of bottle rockets and limits the size of fireworks that can be used during the holiday.

Mayor Mark Squire said the fireworks residue Flanagan displayed for council members appeared larger than those allowed for use within city limits.

“It (looks) like what you’ve got there, and bottle rockets, that’s stuff that wasn’t bought here in Spring Hill,” Squire said.

However, he admitted the new ordinances allowing the use and sale of fireworks may make it more difficult for police officers to enforce use of larger fireworks and bottle rockets.

“I personally don’t believe it can ever be enforced,” Flanagan said. “That’s my opinion.”

Flanagan didn’t call police about the fireworks until the following morning.

“I’m one of those people who get homesick for my bed at nine o’clock,” he said. “There were flashing lights on both sides of my house. I don’t know what time I was awakened.”

Thirty-year Spring Hill resident Carolyn McGee also spoke to council members about her concerns about the new ordinance.

“This is the first Fourth of July I experienced the noise, the explosions, the smoke,” she said.

She called police about bottle rockets on July 3 and July 5. Police Chief Mitch Hofmann said the department responded to approximately 21 fireworks-related calls during the holiday weekend. Officers did not respond to any injuries. They did respond to a dumpster fire caused by fireworks, however.

“I just can’t believe that our sweet town opened it up to explosions,” McGee said. “The street was filled with smoke. You couldn’t even drive down the street.”

She also expressed concerns about pets’ reactions to the fireworks.

“It’s traumatic for the animals,” she said. “…We had a war zone at Madison (Street) and Poplar (Street).”

Jim Hendershot, city planner, said in the near future a group of city officials will meet to evaluate the Fourth of July ordinance.

“We have received phone calls with concerns and also those that have been very positive as well,” Hendershot said.

Comments

  1. I will anxiously await to see if the worthless politicians go with the “community oriented” individuals or the people who sustain damage or worry about their houses burning down………wait until Clara in Edgerton sees this article – the politicians tell the citizens there one thing and that is: Call 911 – that is their answer to any citizen’s concerns and I can really tell they care about about damage to a citizen’s property………don’t ya love the public servants that you have to deal with these days?????????????

  2. 4th of July 2010: one woman hospitalized in a medically induced coma due to burns from fireworks and bedroom blown up; one man with hand blown off and kitchen blown up; one 11 year old girl air lifted to Children’s Mercy Hospital and kitchen blown up; plus 10 children to Children’s Mercy with fireworks related injuries (last year’s total was 58 children treated); bottle rockets ignited a roof; bottle rockets caused an eye injury; kids playing with fireworks caused a large mulch field to catch on fire. Fun city, excitement!!! But, those of us that don’t won’t to be bystander victims due to the other fellow’s excitement/fun are “bah humbug”, “party poopers”. The City of Olathe has a no fireworks ordinance with very little violations. Fireworks should be limited to city displays by certified technicians.

  3. The sense of community in Spring Hill was fantastic on the week of July 4th. Most likely bad parents were to blame in both of the previous posts. Bad supervision for the kids in Childrens Mercy, and I seriously doubt adults were shooting illegal fireworks on roofs either. I’m a veteran and proud to be an American-Still the greatest country on planet earth! I’ve shot off thousands of pounds of fireworks over the years without a problem or a burn, of course I respect them for the dangers they have when used irresponsibly and improperly. Just wanted to add a positive note to this story, as the complainers will always outnumber those of us that enjoy fireworks, and don’t want them limited to city shows.

  4. John, how would you like to work your butt off for a month and have your month’s pay go to take care damages resulting from others 4th of July bash??? These people should stay on their own property with their fireworks; but, of course they don’t want to damage their property. Just the other fellows.

  5. John, what prompted this little tidbit posting? The 2010 4th of July was 8 months ago. Are you bored or are you planning a 2011 4th of July Bash/attack? You are fortunate to have money to burn with the economy and job status as it is.

    Meanwhile, there are those of us that have troops overseas fighting for our country. Our troop is serving his 4th tour overseas-1st in Iraq with injuries, had surgeries. Back to Iraq for 2nd tour. Then, 3rd tour in Afghanistan. Now, 4th tour in Afghanistan. He gets to crawl in and out of those foxholes and experience the real thing, bang, bang.

    Our troops need support, toothbrushes & toothpaste, etc. There are those of us that send care packages.

  6. from Kansas City Star 3-12-2011–

    Fireworks linked to blast, blaze at Blue Springs home

    The owner, who suffered minor injuries, told authorities that he had stored a lot of fireworks in the house, said Eddie Saffell, assistant chief of the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District.

    At the time of the fire, the owner said he was “cutting into some or tearing them apart or doing something with them,” Saffell said. “We are still trying to piece that together.”

    The blast occurred about 9:15 a.m., but by the time firefighters arrived at 2401 Glen Drive, the fire had destroyed much of the 3,000 square-foot home.

    “The fire had already burned through the roof when the first units started to arrive,” Saffell said. Firefighters deployed around the blaze to prevent it from spreading to next door.

    Jackson County property records showed the market value of the home to be $170,000. Saffell did not identify the owner but property records list him as Alan Barzee.

    Saturday night, investigators were still at the scene. Fire officials requested assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fire and Explosives and the Blue Springs police.

  7. P.S.–
    Nothing like being prepared & organize!!! Well, this is March, so 4 more months to July 4th; time to re-vamp his plans. Of course, probably depends on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Fire and Explosives people.

    And, so the 2011 Fireworks Show begins–a really promising BIG SHOW!!!

  8. Well you’re sort of proving my point. I’m bored? How many post do you have here? As I stated before, I am a veteran, a disabled veteran, actually. My brother-in-law is currently in Afganistan on a 2nd tour.

    I also made a donation in December for 10,000 minutes to Operation Uplink through the VFW. That will allow roughly 800 to 1000 of our troops to call home from overseas FOR FREE! Things were tough last year, but I still feel it’s important to give. Please don’t doubt my support for the troops. I commend your soldier and thank you for sending care packages!

    I will have another large party this year, put on by adults, and few, if any fireworks will leave my property (3 acres). All the neighbors are invited to attend and I always check with them to let them know in advance, and afterwards to make sure there weren’t any problems.

    As for the idiot in Blue Springs again, proving my point. Perhaps we should go one further and not allow such people to breed.

    I believe that you are a vocal minority when it comes to fireworks, and I understand that there are a few that cause a lot of chaos and destruction, but this is generally attributed to lack of respect for fireworks and the law.

    I will have another safe 4th of July, I’m sure, but I’ll keep you posted if we have any incidents! You see common sense has gotten me a long way for a lot of years, unfortunately common sense is not taught in school these days, perhaps fireworks are a way of deepening the gene pool.

  9. We are told that we are on our own if our properties are damaged or our houses burn down so others can have their pleasures. Houses in town are too close to have fireworks land on them. Burn all the do-re-mi ($$$) that you want to. Have heard some say that they spent $2000 and another $3000 on fireworks. Fantastic!!! But, there are those of us that have to manage our $$$ and pay our bills and taxes.

    Note the following. Fireworks may be scarce and cost more this year.–

    msnbc.com staff and news service reports
    updated 4/9/2011 2:46:04 PM ET

    WAIPAHU, Hawaii  — A storage facility containing fireworks exploded in a Honolulu suburb Friday, killing five workers, four on the scene and a fifth who was taken to a burn center, fire officials told local media on Saturday.
    A sixth person who was also working in the area received minor injuries, according to Honolulu’s KITV.
    On Friday night, authorities said two victims had died, and two men were missing after the blast, which scorched trees and bushes 40 feet away. Explosions continued hours after the initial one; rescuers waited Saturday morning for the charred storage bunker to cool down so they could reach the two who were missing.
    Police sent robots into the bunker to get a view from inside, and they helped rescuers determine the bunker was still too hot to enter Friday night, Seelig said.
    “There isn’t anything we can do but let it cool off,” Honolulu Fire Capt. Terry Seelig said Friday night.
    The fifth victim was taken to Straub Hospital, and later died there.
    The blast was reported at the Waikele Business Center on Oahu at about 9 a.m. All the men were employees of Donaldson Enterprises, an environmental services and unexploded ordnance disposal company, said Peter Savio, who handles the leases for the facility. The company released a statement late Friday, expressing “deepest sympathies and condolences” to the family and friends of victims, who the Donaldson family called “exceptional men,” reported KITV.
    The storage facility was authorized by the fire department to hold fireworks.
    Seelig said there was no danger to the surrounding residential neighborhood.
    The bunker is about 1½ to 2 miles from the business center’s entrance. Karen Pacleb, whose backyard faces the entrance, said she didn’t hear an explosion but smelled the smoke.
    Students and staff at the nearby Waikele Elementary said they didn’t hear any explosions.
    The Associated Press and KITV contributed to this report.
    Originally published April 11, 2011 at 8:30 p.m., updated April 11, 2011 at 9:33 p.m.
    HONOLULU (AP) – Hawaii’s workplace safety regulator plans to investigate whether the company responsible for the fireworks that exploded in a storage facility last week has any record of violating safety laws.
    Department of Labor spokesman Bill Kunstman said Monday the state’s Occupational Safety and Health office would be investigating the accident that killed five employees last week.
    The Honolulu Fire Department is pursuing its own investigation into the cause of the explosions and fire. But its investigators still haven’t been able to enter the bunker where the fireworks were stored because of the danger posed by fireworks that haven’t exploded.
    Police officers went in to the bunker over the weekend to remove the bodies of two men who were killed, but they wore bulky protective suits to shield them from any blasts.

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