WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Councilman Dave Palmer: “To delay it (the vote) would be horrible timing…”
Councilman Ben Seidler: “I think this would have made a lot more sense to bring this up more than a couple weeks before the committee meeting. And also, my major problem is I can go into Kroger right now and buy a little pack of fireworks and walk out and be subject to a $500 fine.”
Palmer: “No, you could be subject to a fine today before we even do this amendment. It’s currently illegal.”
Seidler: “All the more reason to have a committee hash this out.”
As Americans gear up to celebrate their independence, laws in Wheeling just got tougher on fireworks. That $10 bottle rocket could now land you a $500 fine if not in the right place.
The amendment passed Tuesday night allows officers to confiscate fireworks shot off within city limits and handout $500 fines if the officers arrive on scene.
Councilman Dave Palmer says the ordinance just passed will keep citizens, veterans and animals safe in their own communities.
Wheeling’s Chief of Police said the fines will keep this loud crime at bay.
But some council members think it’s a slap in the face to fireworks sellers just weeks before the big holiday.
Because now buying that simple bottle rocket isn’t being treated like a toy.
“If it flies through the air and explodes, it’s not legal in the city of Wheeling.”Larry Helms, Wheeling Fire Chief
“The problem is that you can go into Kroger or any place right now and buy fireworks and walk out the door. And now you can be subject to a $500 fine just for taking those fireworks from the store to your house. And, that’s not ok.”Ben Seidler, Ward 2
Councilman Seidler motioned for a public safety committee to hear this ordinance, but that was denied.
“This will give us a little more meat to get the people who don’t comply to our request to actually either seize the fireworks or give them a fine. Hopefully they’ll pay attention to down the road.”Larry Helms, Wheeling Fire Chief
“I 100 percent agree with everything we’re trying to do, it just blows my mind the hypocrisy of the fact we’re not going through a public safety committee to actually discuss this and bring all the right share holders together. It’s ridiculous.”Ben Seidler, Ward 2
So as it stands, the Friendly City is making it known it is not friendly with illegal festivities.