Laurel police will be cracking down on fireworks in the city. (File photo)

The cops will be cracking down on people who pop firecrackers in the city limits this holiday season. That’s a warning shot that Chief Tommy Cox of the Laurel Police Department fired as New Year’s Eve approaches.

Shooting fireworks in the city has been so common through the years that some residents may not realize there’s an ordinance against shooting them inside the city limits. 

But two fires in 2020 and 2021 — one that destroyed the Wisner Building at the old Jones Junior High School last Independence Day and one that burned a home on 5th Avenue on New Year’s Day — were blamed on the use of fireworks, Chief Leo Brown of the Laurel Fire Department said.

“We get so many complaints, we have to respond,” Cox said. “We’re going to be more focused on it and tickets will be written.”

A citation for violating the ordinance is $197.50.

Cox compared the enforcement of the ordinance to catching speeders on 16th Avenue and other city roadways.

“Does everyone who speeds get a ticket? No. But when we get complaints, we are going to do as much as we can to stop it,” he said.

He suggested that city residents who want their fireworks fix go watch the professional fireworks show downtown on Friday night or go to friend or relative’s house in the county “and have a good time.”

For those who choose Option 2, Brown offered some safety tips:

• Read cautionary labels before igniting;

• A responsible adult should supervise all fireworks activities;

• Alcohol and fireworks don’t mix;

• Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks;

• Light one firework at a time then quickly move away;

• Use fireworks outdoors, away from buildings, vehicles and wooded areas;

• Never point fireworks in the direction of a person;

• Always have a bucket of water and a charged water hose nearby;

• Never relight a “dud.” Wait 20 minutes then soak it in the bucket of water;

• Don’t carry fireworks in your pocket and don’t shoot them into metal or glass containers;

• Don’t experiment with home-made fireworks;

• Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing in a metal trash can away from buildings or combustible materials until the next day.

“Be safe and be respectful of others,” Brown said. “Have a safe, enjoyable weekend, and make sure to supervise the kids.”

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