The start of summer season is frequently accompanied by an increase in dangers related to the careless or unlawful use of fireworks. This season, the City of East Chicago fire and police departments want to reduce the risk to its residents and injuries to children by urging residents to exercise caution when using fireworks and always supervise the use of any firework by minor children.
City officials also urge compliance with state and local fireworks laws.
While there was, at one time, somewhat of a tradition in East Chicago of setting off fireworks in the middle of the street, this is actually a violation of Indiana State Law in the city right of way. Residents must keep their personal fireworks use within their own property line and not block traffic.
“I caution everyone on the use of fireworks in densely populated areas, such as our (residential) neighborhoods," East Chicago Fire Chief Emiliano Perez said. "People must exercise caution and common sense. Every year, there are fireworks-related incidents that unfortunately will repeat themselves.”
State law establishes that fireworks may only be used on the property of the person using the fireworks, on other private property where permission has been granted to use the fireworks, or at a "special" location (i.e. a location specifically designated for fireworks). Thus, the use of fireworks in City of East Chicago Parks is prohibited. In fact, the use of fireworks on any public property, including the public right of way without a permit is prohibited.
Indiana Code 22-11-14-6 provides that consumer fireworks may only be used in the presence of an adult (age 18 or older) and restricts their use from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., except on designated holidays when they can be used until midnight. Such holidays are listed in IC 1-1-9-1, and include the Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.
Violators can be ticketed for a Class C infraction, and repeat violators may face stiffer penalties. Minors also can face stiffer penalties for repeated violations under IC 22-11-14-6(c). Minors who are caught using fireworks without an adult present may face penalties as a juvenile delinquent under IC 31-37.
The City of East Chicago will host its annual Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration at the East Chicago Marina, 3301 Aldis St., beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 3.
This fireworks show free and open to the public. There will be music by Latin Satin Soul and Dj Joweto. All residents and visitors are welcome to attend this great event. Sorry, but no coolers are allowed.
It is the city’s hope that with a heightened awareness of the risks posed by the use of fireworks, tragedy can be avoided.
Have a safe and sound Independence Day weekend.