RANDOLPH — Sally and Mike Sirois thought a gun went off outside their window late one night.

It wasn’t. A neighbor was shooting off fireworks 20 feet from the backside of the Sirois’s garage.

“I think that’s a little close,” Mike Sirois said.

Sally Sirois said the lot on Pine Street where neighbors launched their fireworks is a small brush area with a line of dead pines that could easily catch fire.

“And then there’s our garage,” she said. “They just shoved a pipe in the ground and shot it up over our garage.”

Greg Lumbert, Randolph’s police officer, said he has received numerous complaints about fireworks and has asked selectmen to consider an ordinance prohibiting the use of fireworks within the 2.08-square-mile Kennebec County town, Maine’s smallest municipality by area. Just south of Augusta across the Kennebec River from Farmingdale and Gardiner, the town is densely populated with little open space.

“It’s happening late at night and there’s nothing we can do since they passed that law,” Lumbert said told selectmen at a meeting last Tuesday. “We should get an ordinance.”

Without local rules in place, state law that took effect this year now allows the sale and use of consumer fireworks. Some towns and cities in central Maine have passed ordinances regulating sale and use of consumer fireworks, but they differ on what is allowed and what isn’t. More urban communities, including Augusta and Waterville, have enacted outright bans against their use and sale.

Gardiner, connected to Randolph by a bridge, decided last week to allow a business to sell fireworks while banning their use within city limits. That goes into effect July 11, and a moratorium on use and sale is in effect until then. Skowhegan has done the opposite, with residents voting earlier this month to ban the sale of fireworks while allowing their use.

Still others have chosen to only regulate the sale and use, such as Farmingdale, which has an ordinance that sets time constraints and penalties over complaints.

Other communities are still mulling over what to do.

With the Fourth of July approaching and fireworks stores opening up in recent months, the issue is becoming more pressing. There are eight fireworks stores in seven Maine towns.

Steve Marson, owner of Central Maine Pyrotechnics, has shown an interest in moving his warehouse to the city’s business park along with a retail store. Locally, he operates fireworks stores in Winslow and Manchester, which was the first in the state to open in March.

Randolph Selectman Robert Henderson thinks fireworks problems will only get worse over time, fearing a home might be set on fire. Henderson favors examining ordinances already adopted by other communities as a starting point.

Henderson and Selectman Peter Hanley agreed they need to get a fireworks ordinance proposal drafted in time for residents to vote at their annual Town Meeting July 25. They also agreed that the Maine Municipal Association should be contacted.

“If Farmingdale and Gardiner have ordinances, then they’re going to come over the river to shoot them off here,” Hanley said.

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

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