Fireworks laws to be enforced

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 24, 2002


The sunny June days are flying by with the blasts of July on the way.

River Parishes residents are almost finished marking the days on this calendar page, and they are beginning to prepare for the upcoming holiday – Independence Day.

This July 4 will be the first since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. There is expected to be a refurbished patriotic spirit in the red, white, and blue T-shirts worn by revelers.

If you plan to participate in fireworks activities on July 4, it is important to know the rules that apply in your particular area.

St. Charles Parish ordinances state that the storage, sale, possession and firing of fireworks is prohibited. Exceptions are made for supervised public displays that are approved by the state fire marshal’s office. A business handling fireworks must be insured with a minimum of $500,000 liability insurance.

Violations will be punished with penalties of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not exceeding $100 or be imprisoned for 30 days in jail, or both.

The parish will host a public fireworks display July 3 at 9 p.m. at the West Bank Bridge Park. Precision Pyrotechnics, Inc. of Pearl River was contracted by the parish for the show. A celebration of live music, food and drink will precede the event. The celebration will begin at 6 p.m.

The shooting of fireworks is permitted in St. James Parish as long as the owner’s permission on private property is granted. The deployment of fireworks must be contained in the property boundaries. The parish ordinance states that no person shall ignite fireworks that can damage surrounding property or buildings.

Currently there is not a parish-planned fireworks display scheduled.

The towns of Lutcher and Gramercy are unincorporated and have their own rules. In Gramercy it is unlawful to see, exchange, barter, fire or discharge any fireworks. In Lutcher it unlawful to have, keep, store, use, manufacture, sell or handle fireworks within the town limits.

Fireworks displays are allowed in public parks or open places with a permit issued by the mayor and board of aldermen.

In St. John the Baptist Parish, it is unlawful to discharge any type of fireworks with certain exceptions. Fireworks are allowed during the following times: from dusk until 10 p.m. on July 4.

Anyone under the age of 15 is prohibited from discharging fireworks without proper adult supervision. Retail sales of fireworks approved by all state and federal agencies are permitted seven days before the holiday.

Retail sales cannot occur within 1,000 feet from a facility than manufactures, uses, handles or stores flammable and/ or combustible materials or within 500 feet of any residence, school, hospital, nursing home or church.

Fireworks cannot be sold in the parish without a valid driver’s license. They cannot be discharged closer than 500 feet from any hospital, church, nursing home or school that is occupied.

Fireworks displays for support of a political, educational, religious, sporting, or charity event require a written permit approval from the sheriff’s office and the Civil Defense Department. Large organized or professional pyrotechnics of a commercial type require written approvals and the approval of the governing authority.

The permit holder must maintain a general liability insurance of $2 million.