Shooting Fireworks Under Ban Could Cost You
Almost every county in the 5NEWS viewing area is under a burn ban, making it illegal for many people to shoot off fireworks this Fourth of July. Police say violators could face criminal charges or a fine.
“At any given time you know a fire can get out of control,” said Sebastian County Sheriff Bill Hollenbeck.
A burn ban and city ordinance makes it illegal to shoot off fireworks in Fort Smith and Sebastian County. “This year being as dry as it is you know it could really be a nightmare,” said Battalion Chief Mark Talley, with the Fort Smith Fire Department.
For the first time ever, Fort Smith police say this year they have a zero tolerance policy. No more verbal warnings. “Zero tolerance means you will be issued a citation for shooting fireworks,” said Cpl. Steven Dooly, with the Fort Smith Police Department.
Dooly says violators could face up to a $500 fine for shooting off fireworks in Fort Smith. Hollenbeck says people could face charges for shooting off fireworks in Sebastian County. “They certainly can face criminal charges and more than likely will face criminal charges,” said Hollenbeck.
Fort Smith police and the Sebastian County Sheriff’s Office say call their non-emergency numbers if you see someone shooting off fireworks. Dial 911 if you see a fire.
If you start a fire the fire department says you could be held liable. “You can be held financially responsible for any damages you cause by the fire,” said Talley.
Hollenbeck plans to have extra deputies on duty for the Fourth of July.
Sebastian County Non-Emergency Number: 479-783-1051
Fort Smith Non-Emergency Number: 479-709-5100