Area police to be out in force looking for illegal fireworks

Area police to be out in force looking for illegal fireworks

DANVILLE – Lighting up those sky rockets can cost you at least $100 in city fines if you're caught red-handed this Fourth of July holiday.

Police officials in Danville, Champaign and Urbana said residents will lose their fireworks stash and may face city fines if they shoot off their own rockets.

Danville Public Safety Director Carl Alexander told Public Services Committee members Tuesday that the police department will actively enforce city fireworks ordinances this year when other calls don't take priority.

Fines for violating Danville fireworks ordinances start at $100 and increase for repeat offenders.

Alexander said fireworks will be seized and residents ticketed if they're caught with the explosives.

What the police department won't be enforcing during the holiday are noise violations, Alexander said.

"If we did that, we'd have to lock up half the city," he joked.

Danville, Champaign and Urbana's city ordinances mirror the state law on legal and illegal fireworks; Danville, however, has outlawed sparklers.

Most police and fire departments will have the usual number of officers on duty.

John Murphy, deputy chief of the Champaign Police Department, said there will be extra police on duty to handle the holiday parades.

Officers, likewise, will be out enforcing fireworks violations.

Fireworks, other than sparklers and unregulated novelty items, will be seized, Murphy said.

Fines for fireworks violations in Champaign start at $145. They cost $135 in Urbana.

Urbana Assistant Police Chief Patrick Connolly said police are concerned about safety.

"We are certainly going to enforce city ordinances as we always do," he said.

Dena Schumacher, public information officer for the Champaign Fire Department, said that firefighters will be on standby, as usual.

"We're concerned always with people being safe," she said.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal's office reported that sparklers and bottle rockets were the leading cause of fireworks injuries in 2004 and burns were the leading injuries. Fireworks caused 186 injuries in 2004 in the state.

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