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Chief warns that fireworks are outlawed in city
by Gary Kent
Jul 03, 2014 | 323 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – With July 4 coming Friday, a lot of Bee County residents will celebrate with barbecue and fireworks.

That is all good, according to Assistant Police Chief Richard Cantu. As long as everyone leaves the fireworks out in the country instead of bringing them into the city.

Cantu said the City Council passed an ordinance years ago outlawing even the possession of fireworks in the city.

That means that if an officer from the Beeville Police Department sees someone leave one of the local fireworks stand with a sack of fireworks and comes into town with them, that person can be pulled over, issued a citation and have all of his or her fireworks confiscated.

“It’s zero tolerance,” Cantu said. You get caught coming into town with fireworks, and you can be stopped and written up by the officer.

Then, once the recipient of the citation gets to municipal court, Judge Joe Salinas can levy a fine as high as $200 for ignoring the ordinance.

The ordinance is all about safety, Cantu said. The City Council passed the ordinance at a time when house fires started by fireworks were common around the country. In most cases, the fires were started by aerial fireworks landing on the roofs of houses.

Fireworks also start grass fires when the conditions are right.

Every year the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department warns everyone in the county that they need to be cautious when using fireworks.

It is a good idea if residents are going to use fireworks to take them into an open field away from homes and outbuildings and well outside the city. And make sure there is a good source of water somewhere.

The best option is to have a garden hose available that is hooked up to a reliable source of water.

Cantu said any type of firework can start a fire. That is why the city ordinance even outlaws the use of sparklers within the city.

In addition to fire damage, fireworks often send kids and parents to the emergency room with burns or injuries caused by the careless use of fireworks.

Children using fireworks in the countryside should be carefully supervised by responsible adults.

It is dangerous to light a firecracker and then throw it. And aerial fireworks like bottle rockets, Roman candles or anything else that shoots into the air should never be pointed at another person or at a building or area of tall grass or rubbish.

Actually, the best bet for those who enjoy fireworks is a short trip out to the Bee County Expo Center Friday night.

Angel Care Ambulance Service will host a $3,500 aerial extravaganza at that location, and the event is free to the public.

Angel Care co-owner Gabriel Aleman suggests bringing the entire family to the event and taking lawn chairs or blankets for sitting.

Angel Care employees will sell hotdogs, chips and drinks that evening, and all the proceeds will go toward the ambulance company’s Relay for Life donation.

As in past years, the seasoned experts from the Beeville Volunteer Fire Department will be in charge of setting off the display.

Most importantly, the volunteers will have plenty of men and equipment on standby in the event a fire should start somewhere.

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 343-5220, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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