Fireworks

PRINCETON — Local 911 dispatchers had fewer noise and nuisance complaints Thursday night and early Friday morning due to more restrained than usual Fourth of July celebrations with fireworks this year.

The Mercer County Commission recently approved an ordinance which limited the times when fireworks could be used. During the Fourth of July, fireworks could be ignited from 9 p.m. to 11:50 p.m. and on July 5 from midnight to 12:30 a.m.

County Commissioner Greg Puckett said Friday that the ordinance allowed fireworks to be used until July 7 between 9 p.m. to 11:50 p.m.

A dispatcher with Mercer County 911 said the Fourth of July evening and early morning shift didn’t receive the number of fireworks-related complaints it usually receives on July 4.

“No, our midnight shift said it was a great shift because they received very few (calls) compared to the years prior,” one dispatcher said Friday. “We usually get a lot of calls like nuisance complaints, noise complaints, yesterday evening. Last night there were a lot less than normal.”

Puckett said he was out Thursday evening to see how county residents were complying with the ordinance.

“I was out past the midnight hour and seeing if everyone was in compliance,” he stated. “I felt that the ordinance was adhered to very well. People were more respectful this year. I think people understand that we just need to have a good common understanding on courtesy and decency for everybody.”

Mercer County Sheriff Tommy Bailey was unavailable Friday. The Mercer County Sheriffs’ Department is responsible for enforcing the fireworks ordinance.

“They may have given some warnings, but it was my understanding that everybody was respectful; and to my knowledge no citations were needed,” Puckett said.

The cities of Princeton and Bluefield have their own fireworks ordinances. In Princeton, fireworks that fly or explode – such as rockets, bottle rockets, Roman candles and firecrackers – couldn’t be used, but items such as fountains and sparklers were allowed, according to the city’s ordinance.

In Bluefield, fireworks could only be used only on July 4 from 9 p.m. to 11:59 p.m and July 5 from 12:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. The only other times fireworks are permitted is on New Year’s Eve from 9 p.m. until 11:59 p.m and New Year’s Day from 12:00 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., according to a statement from the Bluefield Police Department.

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com