During a single incident Thursday, police in Winslow summoned six people for violating consumer fireworks laws.

At 8:52 p.m., in a public park, five minors were cited for being too young to use and possess fireworks; one person was cited for furnishing fireworks to them. Sgt. Haley Fleming said the minors admitted their misdeed, but the adult claimed ignorance of the law.

“However, he was provided with a pamphlet,” Fleming said. “Everyone who buys fireworks is provided with a pamphlet that explains the basic laws.”

Under the state fire marshal’s licensing regulations, consumer fireworks stores must display a list of Maine towns that restrict the use of fireworks and provide a safety pamphlet.

At five locations for the fireworks store Pyro City Maine, sales clerks give each customer a copy of a four-page fireworks safety brochure, said Lance Blackstone, manager of the Winslow store. The booklet contains provisions of state and federal law, and safety tips.

Maine’s law that went into effect Jan. 1 spells out dozens of laws regarding the marketing and sales of fireworks, but offers just three provisions for consumers. In brief, fireworks:

• can only be used from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., except certain holidays.

• must be used on one’s own property, unless permission is given to use another’s property.

• can’t be possessed by or furnished to anyone younger than 21.

While police around the state respond to scores of complaints about fireworks – noise complaints, reports of irresponsible use and more – Assistant State Fire Marshal Rich McCarthy said the provisions in the law are adequate.

For instance, in Winslow there have been reports of people throwing fireworks out of moving cars. In those cases, the fireworks were lit on state or municipal property in violation of the law, McCarthy said.

“There are a multitude of other laws that come into play when somebody uses something outside their intended scope,” he said.

McCarthy said that adding more provisions to govern the use of fireworks would be cumbersome, and impractical.

“You couldn’t cover everything that people might do that they shouldn’t do,” he said.
In June, the Fire Marshal’s Office issued a press release urging caution with fireworks displays and including safety tips such as:

• Avoid areas or conditions that are susceptible to fires, such as dry grass or timber.

• Keep a garden hose, water bucket or fire extinguisher nearby.

• Wear eye protection.

• Follow all directions provided on packaging.

McCarthy said he’s aware of about five small brush fires and a few injuries caused by fireworks use. He said he wasn’t sure whether the injuries were minor or serious.

Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Ben McCanna can be reached at 861-9239 or at:

[email protected]