By Shereen Siewert
Wausau Police responded to dozens of fireworks complaints over the July 4 holiday weekend, resulting in 17 citations for local residents.
For those who enjoy fireworks, it’s a summer treat that helps celebrate an important milestone in our nation’s history. But annoyed dog owners, veterans with PTSD, shift workers, parents with sleeping babies and light sleepers probably can’t do much but hope that whatever excess supply is present dries up soon after the holiday is over.
While fireworks are popular in Wausau, they are illegal in many cases. Though an array of fireworks can be legally purchased in Wisconsin at tents, fireworks stands and stores, state law prohibits discharging any firework that explodes or leaves the ground without a permit. The permit requires certain safety standards are met and addresses financial liability issues for damage or injury.
Basically, police say a firework that leaves the ground is illegal without a permit.
Capt. Todd Baeten said dispatch information showed 56 calls categorized as fireworks complaints in Wausau between July 3 and July 5. A citation for illegal fireworks in Wausau carries a $124 fine.
Residents throughout the city reported hearing fireworks well into the early morning hours. On the southeast side of Wausau, loud booms could be heard as late as 2 a.m. both Sunday and Monday morning. And while some residents say they should be allowed to celebrate the holiday without restraint, police say there are safety reasons why fireworks are illegal. An average of 8,800 people are treated in emergency rooms across the U.S. each year for fireworks injuries. Fireworks are also responsible for an average of 1,100 home and 300 vehicle fires annually, according to the city of Wausau.
And fire officials say more fires are reported on Independence Day than on any other day of the year. Fireworks are responsible for roughly half of those fires.