EUGENE, Ore. — Monday is a big day for fireworks. Vendors will start selling them all across the state of Oregon, and the Eugene City Council will vote on whether or not to impose restrictions on their use.
In 2013, fireworks were to blame for 31 injuries and 197 structure fires in the state, and more than $4.4 million in property loss over the past five years. One of those devastating fires happened the day after the fourth of July at a North Eugene home on Lakeview Drive. The 2-alarm fire caused $850,000 in damage.
“They caught the arborvitaes on fire, spread into the house next to the arborvitaes, got into the attic, and then spread throughout the house,” said Battalion Chief Matt Steinberg of the Eugene-Springfield Fire Department.
Batt. Chief Steinberg was the incident commander on that house fire, and he says it’s a reminder to practice safety precautions when using fireworks. Along with safety concerns, there has been a growing number of complaints about noise from fireworks. In response, the Eugene City Council will vote on an ordinance on Monday, that would limit the use of legal fireworks from 365 days a year to just five–July 3-5 and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
“Really fireworks are to celebrate and the desire to use fireworks on holidays, so I don’t consider it to be unreasonable,” said Councilor Chris Pryor.
The vote comes on the same day fireworks go on sale throughout the state, and a week before an amnesty event on Saturday that will let people turn in illegal fireworks no questions asked.
If the ordinance passes, it could take effect immediately and be just one more effort this year to crackdown on the dangers of fireworks.
“I think it will cut down on the chances and the probability of having injuries or having fires just on the virtue of not using them on those other days, especially during the hot, summer, dry days,” said Batt. Chief Steinberg.
The ordinance won’t change when fireworks can be sold in Eugene. You can still buy them starting Monday through July 6 each year.