116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION - After ongoing complaints from residents, Marion City Council has passed the first reading of a city ordinance that would restrict firework use to only two days out of the year.
After the Iowa Legislature passed a bill early this year allowing the sale of certain fireworks between June 1 and July 8 and between Dec. 10 and Jan. 3, the Marion council passed an ordinance that limited their use in the city.
That ordinance allowed the use of those fireworks from June 24 through July 8 and Dec. 31 through Jan. 1.
However, even that restricted time period wasn't tight enough for some Marion residents, Fire Chief Deb Krebill said.
'When they first came out, even our police department said, we don't want to be seen as fun haters. Let's try it and give citizens the opportunity,” Krebill said. 'I've always said this, we've been put in a bad situation by the state legislature. It's hard to stop people from using things that are being sold.”
So on Oct. 19, Marion City Council passed a reading of a new ordinance that would allow certain fireworks from noon to 11 p.m. on July 4 and from 6 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 12:30 a.m. on Jan 1.
Since fireworks were allowed to be sold in Iowa, the Marion Fire Department has responded to two dumpster fires and two grass fires as well as one serious injury in which Krebill said a 46-year-old man was using fireworks improperly and under the influence of a substance and had to be sent to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics' burn unit.
Marion Police received 203 fireworks-related calls and issued five citations for firework use since the initial ordinance was put in place, Krebill said. The Fire Department got 70 complaints.
The noise bothered residents the most, Krebill said. Some complained they weren't able to sleep because of the noise, while others said they were most concerned about their pets being traumatized by the noise and having to give anxious pets medication. Other complaints included residents finding bottle rockets or debris on their roofs, in gutters and on their lawns.
'Putting fireworks in urban areas, it just doesn't work,” Krebill said. '...
In an urban setting where houses were so close together, the debris flies into other yards and the sounds are different if you have one house every half-mile. In urban areas, you've got maybe 10 people in that half-mile.”
Since Krebill has been keeping data on fireworks related calls and incidents since passage of the first ordinance, the council wanted to revisit the issue and to line up with ordinances in Cedar Rapids and Hiawatha.
'We pretty much agreed that we would like the (metropolitan area) to all have the same ordinance so there was no confusion for people,” Krebill said. 'We all agreed to that. The chiefs and I, we got together and thought that was a great idea.”
However, Cedar Rapids decided to ban use of fireworks all together, and Hiawatha was considering allowing fireworks to be used on July 3, 4 and Dec. 31, Krebill said.
Marion council members didn't see the necessity of allowing use on July 3, Krebill said.
'It's just a no-win,” she said.
Council will have two more readings of the ordinance before it can be passed. The next council meeting is set for Nov. 9.
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