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South Bend Fireworks Laws June 24, 2010

Posted by southbendpolice in Community Announcements, In The News, News Releases.
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This is the time of year the phones are lit up with calls asking about or complaining about fireworks use. Here are a couple of frequently asked questions, as well as the city ordinance regarding fireworks use within the city limits.

Q: When Can I Use Fireworks?

A: There are three general time periods fireworks use is allowed:

a. Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on June 29, 30, July 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
b. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight on July 4; and
c. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. on December 31 and 1:00 a.m. on January 1.

Q: What are the penalties for violations?
A: Penalties range based upon the number of events to a particular person or address, ranging from $100 through $500.00 per offense, and up to $2500.00 if fire related damage ensues from fireworks use.

Q: We are having a gathering in a city park. Can we shoot off some fireworks then?

A: No. All fireworks use is banned from all South Bend City Parks.

Q: How will police respond?
A: The 4th of July timeframe is generally the busiest time of the year for calls for all types of police service. As such calls are prioritized by call type. Noise complaints, especially for fireworks are considered low priority in dispatching. If an officer is sent to a specific address for a fireworks complaint the officer will generally, and at the officer’s discretion, give a verbal warning for a violation. The SBPD recognizes that fireworks are an inherent part of celebrations for this time of year, and we encourage responsible gathering and use. If a verbal warning is not heeded, then expect a fine to be cited to the reponsible party. This could include the person lighting, or the person/resident “in charge” of the location where the violation is taking place.

Q: I want to call to report this as a problem in my neighborhood.

A: Again, bear in mind the times and dates use is permitted. Also, due to police call volume, we request you first attempt to speak to your neighbors about the violations. Many loud party calls police are sent on, the loud party seemed unaware the neighbors were bothered by it. As a neighbor, please attempt to resolve on your own first without police being called.

If this does not work, then please report to our NON EMERGENCY number, at 235-9361. Fireworks calls are not worthy of 911 phone use, except in case of fire or medical emergency. Please try to be as specific as possible when reporting an address: “in front of 1110 South Michigan” rather than a general location “over by Sample and Michigan on the corner”. A contact numbr or your location is preferred as well so the officer may speak with you further about the concern.
Play it safe and enjoy the professional shows!

Q: What is considered “fireworks”?

A: See the ordinance below.

Q: What is the whole ordinance?
A: As follows:

Sec. 13-59. Fireworks regulation.(a) Consumer fireworks may be used within the corporate limits of the City of South Bend only under the provisions of this section.
(1) For purposes of this section, the term “consumer firework” means: a small firework that is designed primarily to produce visible effects by combustion, and that is required to comply with the construction, chemical composition, and labeling regulations promulgated by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission under 16 CFR 1507. The term also includes some small devices designed to produce an audible effect, such as whistling devices, ground devices containing fifty (50) milligrams or less of explosive composition, and aerial devices containing one hundred thirty (130) milligrams or less of explosive composition. Propelling or expelling charges consisting of a mixture of charcoal, sulfur, and potassium nitrate are not considered as designed to produce an audible effect.

Consumer fireworks include:
1. Aerial devices, which include sky rockets, missile type rockets, helicopter or aerial spinners, roman candles, mines, and shells;
2. Ground audible devices, which include firecrackers, salutes, and chasers; and
3. Firework devices containing combinations of the effects described in clauses 1. and 2.; and
b. Do not include the following items:
1. Dipped sticks or wire sparklers. However, total pyrotechnic composition may not exceed one hundred (100) grams per item. Devices containing chlorate or perchlorate salts may not exceed five (5) grams in total composition per item.
2. Cylindrical fountains.
3. Cone fountains.
4. Illuminating torches.
5. Wheels.
6. Ground spinners.
7. Flitter sparklers.
8. Snakes or glow worms.
9. Smoke devices.
10. Trick noisemakers, which include:
i. Party poppers.
ii. Booby traps.
iii. Snappers.
iv. Trick matches.
v. Cigarette loads
vi. Auto burglar alarms.

When Can I use Fireworks?

(2) No person may use, ignite or discharge consumer fireworks within the corporate limits of the City of South Bend except during the following times:
a. Between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on June 29, 30, July 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
b. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 midnight on July 4; and
c. Between the hours of 10:00 a.m. on December 31 and 1:00 a.m. on January 1.

(3) No person may use, ignite, or discharge consumer fireworks on any public street or in any public park within the corporate limits of the City of South Bend at any time.

(4) Any person violating this subsection shall be subject to the following penalties:
a. One hundred dollars ($100.00) for a first offense;
b. Two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) for a second;
c. Five hundred dollars ($500.00) for a third offense and every subsequent.
d. Any person issued a citation for violating any provision of section 13-59 shall make payment through the Ordinance Violations Bureau. Failure to make payment within thirty (30) days of the issuance of a citation for violation of any provision of section 13-59 shall result in the assessment of a late fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).

e. In such instances where using, igniting or discharging consumer fireworks results in a fire and damage is determined to be caused by negligence or the willful disregard or violation of any of the provisions of this article, a fine equal to the cost expended by the City to send fire suppression personnel and equipment to the location shall be assessed with said fine not exceeding two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500.00).

f. A citation for a violation of section 13-59 shall be issued to the responsible party. A responsible party is defined as the person shown to have exclusive possession of the property (a present possessory interest). If no responsible party is present upon the premises, the responsible party is deemed to be the property owner(s), as determined by reference to the records of the St. Joseph County Assessor. In such an instance, copies of the citation must be mailed to the property owner as determined from the Assessor’s records.

(b) Any person wishing to give a supervised public display of fireworks may do so by first procuring a license from the City and filing bond in the sum of fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00), conditioned on the payment of all damages which may be caused either to a person or property by reason of such licensed display or arising from any acts of the licensee, his agents, employees or subcontractors. The license fee shall be twenty dollars ($20.00) per day for each day of such public display.

(c) Any public display of fireworks shall be conducted in all things in accordance with the rules and regulations adopted and set out by the Fire Marshal of the State, and as the same are restricted or designated by the Acts of the General Assembly of the State. All definitions contained in such acts shall apply to the terms of this section.
(Code 1962, § 26-11; Ord. No. 9769-07, § I, 6-25-07)

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