About 45 complaints were received regarding fireworks from July 1 – 5, according to the Gardner Police Department’s weekly report.
“ Although we saw a 50 percent increase in fireworks-related calls for service compared to last year, the calls were primarily related to the suspected use of illegal fireworks, which largely proved to be unfounded,” said James Pruetting, Gardner police chief. “From a public safety perspective, in the absence of any reported injuries or other serious fireworks-related incidents, I’m pleased with the outcome.”
“No fire related or medical calls related to fireworks were received over the holiday weekend,” said Jerry Holly, Fire District #1 division chief. Fire district #1 covers both the Gardner and Edgerton areas.
Under the new Gardner fireworks ordinance, this is the first year residents could legally purchase or discharge fireworks in Gardner city limits.
Fireworks could only be sold only from June 28 thru July 4 within the city; five permits were issued.
“We didn’t identify any codes issues with the fireworks stands, as the permit approval and inspection processes the city has in place succeeded in preventing those issues from occurring,” Pruetting said.
Discharge of fireworks was allowed only on July 3 and July 4 from 10 a.m. until midnight.
According to the police report about 20 fireworks complaints were fielded prior to the third; about 20 July 3-4, and 4 on July 5. Violations may be considered an unclassified misdemeanor, punishable by a fine in an amount not to exceed $500 and/or confinement in the county jail for a period not to exceed one month.
Several area residents – both for and against – also addressed the Gardner City Council at their July 5 meeting regarding the fireworks. (See related story.)
Fireworks display
Country music star Chase Bryant headlined Gardner’s celebration on July 4 at Celebration Park. It is estimated about 12,000 people attended.
To help manage overflow parking, the city provided shuttle service from the Gardner-Edgerton High School, and designated traffic routes.
“The traffic plan worked well given the size of the crowd, which we estimated at around 12,000 people,” said Pruetting. “ We received positive feedback on how well the egress from the designated parking areas went following the fireworks show, which is always the biggest traffic challenge following this type of event. “