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City cracks down on illegal fireworks

MARYSVILLE — Marysville officials have released their rules regarding the proper discharging of fireworks as part of the Independence Day holiday, and Marysville Police, Fire and city spokespersons all emphasized that these restrictions are designed to protect local residents.

Fireworks are allowed to be discharged between the hours of 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4 only, and Marysville Police will crack down on illegal fireworks usage, under both criminal and civil codes.

Last year, the Marysville City Council amended their fireworks laws to apply not only to the use and discharge of illegal fireworks, but also to standard “safe and sane” fireworks, if they are ignited outside the date and times that they’re allowed to be discharged. The City Council likewise gave local police additional enforcement powers, to issue civil citations to violators, similar to standard tickets, as an alternative to criminal citations.

Under state law, possession or discharge of illegal fireworks is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, up to a year in jail and a mandatory court appearance. Inside the city limits of Marysville, current law states that legal fireworks — those typically defined as Class C or “safe and sane” — may only be sold from noon to 11 p.m. on June 28, and from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. from June 29 through July 4. City of Marysville Community Information Officer Doug Buell warned that many types of fireworks sold in stands at the Tulalip Indian Reservation’s “Boom City” are not legal in Marysville or unincorporated Snohomish County.

Civil infraction fines of up to $500 may be issued by police, instead of criminal citations, and the criminal misdemeanor fine consistent with the standard state penalty may go up to $1,000 and/or 90 days in jail. Gross misdemeanor offenses carry fines of up to $5,000 and/or a year in jail, and a person with three or more civil infractions within a two-year time period may cited for a misdemeanor.

Marysville Police Cmdr. Ralph Krusey explained that civil infractions enable officers to spend more time on the streets responding to fireworks complaints, and less time processing criminal citation paperwork. He noted that safety is the paramount concern.

“Use caution and follow the safety rules for the responsible use of fireworks,” Krusey said. “Illegal fireworks in particular pose a public safety and medical hazard, and they have the potential to cause property damage in the Marysville area.”

According to Buell, the city of Marysville would prefer to educate community members about the responsible use of fireworks, rather than write tickets.

“Word of mouth by ticketed violators may be the most effective way to spread the news,” Buell said.

City officials also urge Fourth of July holiday revelers to clean up their fireworks after they’re finished.

“After you light it up, clean it up,” Buell said. “Spent fireworks the day after the Fourth are a neighborhood eyesore, and they pose a potential fire hazard. Be responsible and pick up when you’re done.”

For more information, visit the city of Marysville fireworks Web site at http://ci.marysville.wa.us/government/fireworks.htm.

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