By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — Fire officials want the town to crack down on fireworks.
New regulations could keep neighborhood displays under control and enforce permitting for commercial events.
Acting fire Chief Darren O’Brien addressed town councilors Monday night. He said new rules could improve public safety and alleviate fears from sporadic fireworks.
Officials polled area communities to see what local fireworks laws are out there.
“There’s not a lot,” O’Brien said. “We have more than most.”
Right now, the town receives a $50 permit fee from anyone purchasing more than $500 of Class C fireworks, the type most residents use at their homes.
People have to come to the fire station to get the permit. Fire officials inspect the property and see what sort of display residents want to do.
O’Brien suggested doing away with the fee, but keeping the permitting. Putting a time limit on when fireworks could be used would be helpful, he said.
The proposed ordinance would ban individuals’ use of fireworks after 10 p.m.
Professional fireworks displays would only be allowed for special town-sanctioned events like the annual Old Home Day celebration.
Fireworks would be banned in all cases during the highest fire danger alert times, the Class 3 level.
Acting Town Manager Bill Hart said many residents have called to complain about fireworks noise in recent weeks. Most recently, hundreds of calls were fielded at the police station following the Londonderry Fish and Game Club’s annual meeting, where members of the New Hampshire Pyrotechnic Association were guests of honor.
Hart said many people were upset about all the noise.
“This is the largest single specific type of call we receive,” Hart said. “It is a cause of concern for many folks.”
The town has a number of fireworks stores, so residents have plenty of opportunity to purchase them here legally. Rules could ensure fireworks are being handled properly and at the right times.
“Most people don’t know what the Class 3 fire dangers are,” Councilor Tom Dolan said. “People need to be responsible.”
Retail stores offer customers safety information and restrictions in local communities.
The noise often puts people on edge, Dolan said.
“People are ultra sensitive these days,” he said. “Some people in town don’t want fireworks at all. Some people want to shoot them off all day. We want to find a happy medium.”