So your neighbors just bought what seems like thousands of dollars of fireworks and you can hear every one of the blasts from inside your house.
Which begs the question, when exactly can people fire off fireworks?
Elkhart County found itself in a unique position last year when leaders banned most fireworks because of a drought. County offices were flooded with calls from Independence Day revelers wanting to know when they could light up the night sky. But this year, county administrator Tom Byers said his office has received very few phone calls about fireworks.
In unincorporated areas of the county, fireworks can be shot between 5 p.m. and two hours after sunset from June 29 to July 3 and from July 5 through July 9. The timeframe is expanded to 10 a.m. to midnight on July 4. Fireworks are also allowed between 10 a.m. Dec. 31 and 1 a.m. Jan. 1. The county prohibits fireworks all other times of the year.
If county residents have problems with people shooting off fireworks, they should call the sheriff’s department at 891-2100.
On Monday, Mayor Dick Moore addressed numerous summertime safety issues, including fireworks during a news conference at the city police department. Elkhart city ordinances mirror the same policy set forth in unincorporated areas of Elkhart, including the hours fireworks can be set off.
And while the window of opportunity exists, citations can still be issued for violations outside of the prescribed hours, according to assistant chief Laura Koch.
Fines can range from $100 to $2,500, Koch said.
RELAXED RULES IN NAPPANEE
Nappanee has no city-specific ordinance. Thus, the Indiana state law applies, which allows fireworks year-round, and the explosions have been going on for several weeks now.
“Oh, my goodness, yes,” said Nappanee Clerk-Treasure Kim Ingle, asked if the bangs and booms have been increasing of late. “The animals don’t like it.”
Per the state law, fireworks are allowed year-round, from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. The end time extends to midnight on Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day and New Year’s Eve.
“I know that in two neighborhoods, there have been fireworks going up for six weeks,” Ingle said.
Some have complained to City Hall, she said, but the Nappanee Police Department is the place to call, and if the fireworks are discharged in the allowable time frame there’s generally not much that can be done.
Accordingly, Ingle is investigating other city ordinances and Nappanee officials may look into tightening the restrictions later this summer or fall, according to Mayor Larry Thompson. If it’s midnight on June 1 and someone is letting off fireworks “we’ve got a problem,” Thompson said.
The city of Goshen began allowing consumer fireworks on June 29 and residents may continue their use until July 9.
On those days, fireworks are permitted from 5 p.m. until two hours after sunset, except on July 4, when they are permitted from 10 a.m. until midnight.
Goshen defines consumer fireworks to include aerial devices such as skyrockets, missile-type rockets, helicopter or aerial spinners, Roman candles, mines and shells; ground audible devices such as firecrackers, salutes and chasers; and fireworks devices containing combinations of the effects of the types previously described.
Residents found to be in violation of the fireworks ordinance could be fined up to $500 for each violation.
If any residents have complaints, the city instructs them to call the Goshen Police Department at 533-8661 or 911 for emergencies.