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City OKs two fireworks displays

Jun 19, 2014 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Residents living near Ron Saban Little League Complex worry the show June 26 will harm veterans.

The Riverton City Council approved two fireworks displays Tuesday for the Riverton Little League End-of-Year Celebration on June 26 and for the Rendezvous Balloon Rally on July 19.

The fireworks are scheduled to begin at sunset June 26 at East Park Avenue and North Smith Road. The City of Riverton Rendezvous Committee has scheduled its fireworks to be at 10 p.m. July 19 near Griffey Hill. City staff received the required paperwork --including a letter of recommendation from the Riverton Volunteer Fire Department --from both applicants.

The RVFD has agreed to be on standby during the activities and coordinate with the pyrotechnics experts who are setting up the displays.

Worries from residents

Veterans living near the Ron Saban Little League Complex voiced their concerns about the displays.

Resident Henry P. Davis spoke on behalf of the veterans in the area who he said are "shook up" by explosions and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. He said one veteran hides under a bed when he hears fireworks while another runs out of his home with a weapon.

"I felt so sorry for these gentlemen," Davis said. "Yes, (the fireworks are) patriotic, but do they have to be this big?"

Others in the area also have been affected, he said. For instance, a deaf woman's service dog was targeted with bottle rockets fireworks on more than one occasion, Davis said.

"This dog is a nervous wreck and cannot do the job she was trained to do," he said.

He suggested moving the show to a different location and increasing law enforcement patrol to ensure residents know fireworks are illegal in the city. He added that businesses who sell fireworks also should inform buyers that they are illegal to use in the city.

He said residents near his home on the 1400 block of East Park Avenue illegally launch fireworks and are not always cited.

Council member Richard Gard asked if limitations could be placed on the size of fireworks used in the display. City administrator Steven Weaver said the intensity of the show probably would not make a difference.

"I don't know if a bigger boom or less boom is going to matter much in this situation," Weaver said.

City staff said displays have to follow International Fire Code requirements. Council member Mary Ellen Christensen suggested issuing a public notice to residents to announce when the displays will take place so they can be aware and prepared.

"I would hate for us to get too onerous in trying to stop it," Mayor Ron Warpness said.

Council member Jonathan Faubion suggested staff look into a permanent place that could be designated for residents who want to launch their fireworks legally in the future.

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