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Fire officials: For the Fourth, ‘shoot them where you buy them’ (VIDEO)

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 12:53 p.m.
  • Updated Sunday, June 29, 2014, at 9:23 a.m.

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How to report firework complaints

In 2012, Sedgwick County 911 established and staffed a non-emergency line reserved for fireworks complaints, which helped keep emergency lines open. The same non-emergency line will be staffed in 2014 during the following hours:

• 6:30 p.m. July 3 to 3 a.m. July 4

• 6:30 p.m. July 4 to 3 a.m. July 5

• 6:30 p.m. July 5 to 3 a.m. July 6

The number is 316-290-1011 and is reserved for fireworks complaints. If fireworks cause injury or damage to property that requires assistance from police officers, firefighters or EMS paramedics, call 911.

As the Fourth of July approaches, Wichita and Sedgwick County officials are reminding people what’s allowed and what’s not.

In Wichita, fireworks may be ignited from Friday through July 5 between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight, which is the same as the statewide ordinance.

Though the timing is the same, Wichita is more restrictive on what fireworks can be shot in town, Fire Marshal Brad Crisp said. Fireworks approved for use in Wichita cannot explode or travel higher than 6 feet in the air.

Wichita has a list of approved fireworks listed on the Fire Department website at www.wichita.gov/government/departments/fire.

“Unless we’re able to sit down all 390,000 people that live in Wichita down and tell them what the rules are, it’s very difficult to achieve,” Crisp said. “People still don’t understand why they can’t drive to Maize or Goddard or Andover, buy fireworks and bring them back home. They assume we all have the same rules.”

Fireworks laws within cities vary across the county. Check with your municipality about its regulations before you purchase or shoot fireworks.

In general, sheriff’s Lt. David Mattingly said at a media briefing last week, the best advice is to “shoot them where you buy them.”

In unincorporated parts of the county, fireworks classified as “consumer” can only be discharged from 8 a.m. to midnight July 1 to July 4. They also cannot be bought or sold in these parts of the county.

Sedgwick County Deputy Fire Marshal Bill Hinkle Jr. said in an e-mail the county will not allow fireworks past July 4 because the federal holiday falls on that Friday.

Last year, Sedgwick County dispatchers reported 752 fireworks complaint calls from Wichita, part of 897 calls county-wide. There were 34 fires as a result of fireworks in the city – 23 were grass or non-structure fires, six were structure fires, three were smoke/explosion calls, and two were vehicle fires.

Fifty people were injured from fireworks last year, ranging in age from 18 months to 63 years old. Losses for fireworks-caused fires in Wichita last year was estimated at $53,050, according to the department.

Contributing: Deb Gruver of The Eagle

Reach Matt Riedl at 316-269-6791 or mriedl@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @riedlmatt.

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