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Robert L. “Bob” “Orpalo” “Tudoc” Valerio, 85, died June 30, 2019, in Seattle.
7/1/2019
Fireworks law

It will be tougher this year.

Not to celebrate the Fourth of July. But to celebrate it within the rules.

Laws come about when boundaries are needed, and laws are toughened when those boundaries are pushed. A year ago in a few neighborhoods, there was push, and the Ketchikan City Council pushed back, addressing rules related to personal fireworks displays.

Fireworks are part of Fourth celebrations across the country. Ketchikan has a display over Tongass Narrows annually, and will again this week.

Individuals often set off their own fireworks, as well, and unsafe — not all — displays have prompted government action.

The city permits personal displays within a specific time frame for the Fourth — 9 a.m. July 4 to 1 a.m. July 5.

The law states that whoever sets off fireworks is responsible for the consequences — death, injury, fire or property damage. A person may not be under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substances while shooting off fireworks. Parents or guardians must supervise any discharge of fireworks by minors. Fireworks are to be used only on a person’s own property or another’s property if consent has been given. The debris from a display may not be allowed to fall on another’s property.

The city increased the fine to $500 for violations recently.

Meanwhile, the Ketchikan Gateway Borough prohibits the sale, possession or use of fireworks outside of the cities.

The Fourth of July celebration is to be fun for all — those who want to use fireworks and those who don’t; the rules provide a way for that to occur.