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Police: Neighborhoods in Eugene awakened by illegal fireworks before 5 a.m.

(File photo/SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. -- Friday morning, people in several Eugene neighborhoods were awakened before 5 a.m. by illegal fireworks, Eugene Police Department reports.

"It’s downright un-neighborly and illegal to shoot off fireworks outside of the allowed timeline of between December 31 and January 1," EPD said in a news release Friday. "(Friday's) calls came in beginning at 4:54 a.m., starting in the 400 block of Clark Street (near Lawrence), and ranged from 4th and Jefferson, 7th and Van Buren, Monroe and 2nd, Country Club, and other locations."

Callers advised first of what sounded like gunshots, but police say it was determined to be fireworks, possibly aerial fireworks. Police searched the area, but did not locate the source.

Within Eugene, fireworks that are legal for retail purchase can be used only between June 23 and July 6 and December 31 and January 1, the department said. Illegal fireworks cannot be used.

"Please continue to be mindful of people in your neighborhood who may be sensitive to loud noises, due to PTSD or other conditions," EPD said, "especially combat veterans, who deserve our every comfort after their service, can be impacted by the sounds and sights of illegal fireworks. Also, many pets are lost each year due to reactions to fireworks."

Eugene Police and Eugene-Springfield Fire have been working on education surrounding the use of fireworks for several years. Under City Code 4.934: “In addition to restrictions on the sale, possession, use, detonation or explosion of fireworks under state law, it is unlawful to use, light, detonate or display any fireworks anywhere in the city at any time except on December 31, January 1, June 23 through July 6…”.

Also, using illegal fireworks during any time of the year, or the use of fireworks that are legal for retail purchase other than between June 23 and July 6 and December 31 and January 1, can end up with Social Host ordinance consequences (City Code 4.670), EPD says. The social host, or ordinance on unruly gatherings, holds individuals criminally responsible for hosting, organizing and allowing an unruly event or social gathering. Property owners where the event is hosted will also be penalized if there are multiple violations of this ordinance at the same property. The Eugene Municipal Court has assigned a base fine of $375 for criminal violations of this ordinance. Both hosts and property owners could be civilly liable for police, fire and public works response to repeated illegal gatherings that fall under this ordinance. Social Host

BACKGROUND FIREWORKS INFO

People often ask questions about sparklers. The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s website information states that wood core sparklers are considered legal retail fireworks and as such, would be subject to the new code. The 10-inch wire core sparklers are considered an unclassified item and not a firework and can be sold and used throughout the year.
More info at Oregon State Fire Marshal’s website at http://www.oregon.gov/osp/sfm

What are Legal Fireworks?

Legal fireworks in Oregon can be sold from June 23 through July 6 of each year. These include fountains, spinners and wheels available at retail fireworks outlets. Additionally, legal fireworks produce only smoke, sparks or fire but DO NOT explode, eject balls of fire, fly into the air more than 12 inches or travel more than six feet on the ground. When both legal and illegal fireworks are improperly handled, injuries and fire damage occur.
Illegal fireworks include but are not limited to, fire crackers, bottle rockets and roman candles, fly into the air, explode and behave in an uncontrolled and unpredictable manner. Illegal fireworks are extremely dangerous and create extreme fire danger. Possession of illegal fireworks is a class B misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of $2,500 and six months in jail.
Cherry bombs, M-80’s and larger and any legal or illegal firework that has been modified are considered an EXPLOSIVE DEVICE and should not be handled. Call the Eugene Police Department immediately and do not transport.
Safety info at: www.oregon.gov/osp/sfm

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