608 reports of banned fireworks; 21 citations issued, Lexington police say

jkegley@herald-leader.comJuly 5, 2012 

Lexington police received 608 complaints about use of fireworks Wednesday night, and firefighters were called to three house fires and about a dozen grass and dumpster fires, officials said.

At least one of the house fires was strongly suspected to have been caused by fireworks, which were prohibited under a citywide burn ban enacted last week, Battalion Chief Ed Davis said.

Police issued 21 citations for violating the fireworks ban, which the city implemented because of exceedingly dry conditions, Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said.

Roberts said the 608 calls to police were not representative of the number of incidents. Multiple neighbors might have called about a single violation, she said. Many incidents probably were not reported.

To write a citation, officers had to see fireworks being used or evidence of fireworks, and such evidence was gone in many cases by the time police arrived, Roberts said.

Firefighters extinguished nine grass fires from 7 a.m. Wednesday through 7 a.m. Thursday, Davis said. Many of those were thought to have been caused by fireworks because they weren't near buildings or roads, where grass fires caused by cigarettes typically start, he said.

The first of the three house fires was reported on Appian Way at 8:15 p.m, Wednesday, followed by fires at homes on Valley Farm Drive about 1:50 a.m. Thursday and on Eddy Street about 3:42 a.m.

"Of the three, we've got witness statements and evidence found at the scene that leads us to believe that one of them was caused by fireworks," Davis said.

He did not say which one it was because the investigation remained open.

Davis said Thursday he knew of no reports of serious injuries reported from fireworks.

The city enacted the burn ban on June 27 because an abnormally hot and dry stretch had left grass, mulch and brush tinder dry. Initially, the city said it would not enforce a section of the ban that prohibited the use of fireworks.

However, after scattered storms Sunday produced a lot of wind and lightning but little rain, officials decided Monday to include fireworks in the ban.

The ban covered all fireworks, including sparklers, snakes, bottle rockets and mortars. Setting them off could result in a $100 fine for the first offense.

Herald-Leader reporter Linda J. Johnson contributed to this story. Josh Kegley: (859) 231-3197.Twitter: @HLpublicsafety.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service