With the Fourth of July fast approaching, leaders in Carmel are reminding residents about the restrictions for using fireworks.
While some people report hearing rockets bursting in the air at very late hours or for several weeks before of after Independence Day, elected officials say there are certain hours when fireworks aren’t allowed and violators could be fined up to $2,500 for a fourth offense or more.
Fines start at $250 for first offense, $500 for second offense and $1,000 for a third offense, according to city code.
State law allows for fireworks to be shot off five days before and five days after July 4 until 10 p.m. and until midnight on the Fourth of July. Cities don’t have the ability to shorten these hours. The Carmel City Council was previously interested in restricting the hours after hearing feedback from residents.
“We can’t make it any shorter than state law,” City Councilor Jeff Worrell said.
Firefighter Tim Griffin, a spokesman for the Carmel Fire Dept., said the city has a great public display, so his first recommendation is to go to the free show.
“Things such as glow sticks and whipper snappers are safe and fun for kids,” he said. “Even something like a sparkler has to be taken seriously, because they burn at such a high temperature. It can leave lifelong scars.”
Griffin said the weekend will be busy for CFD, but that’s not always due to fireworks and grilling. He said there are a lot of people in town, so that adds to their runs.
Worrell said loud fireworks outside of the normal hours can be disruptive to pets and babies. He also noted that many veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder might find the fireworks to be a stressful reminder of war.
“I predict you’ll see a lot more signs in neighborhoods to let people know that a veteran lives by and maybe people will consider moving their celebration a little further away out of respect,” he said.
City Councilor Bruce Kimball said he doesn’t know if any new rules are needed but hopes that everyone will be courteous.
“I don’t want to control what everyone else does, but I hope everyone is respectful to neighbors,” Kimball said. “It can be very dangerous.
Worrell is the fireworks director for CarmelFest. The free public show will be at 9:45 p.m. on July 4 and WHJE Carmel High radio 91.3 FM will synchronize the fireworks show to music.
Indiana’s fireworks law
Indiana state law forbids the city from limiting the use of consumer fireworks:
● Between 5 p.m. and two hours after sunset on June 29 and 30.
● Between 5 p.m. and two hours after sunset on July 1,2,3,5,6,7,8 and 9.
● Between the hours of 10 a.m. and midnight on July 4.
● Between the hours of 10 a.m. on Dec. 31 and 1 a.m. on Jan. 1.