Politics & Government

Fireworks spark ire of Macon-Bibb officials, residents

The new fireworks law in Georgia has sparked the ire of Macon-Bibb County officials and residents alike.

County leaders said they were bothered about the law that permits fireworks to be fired from 10 a.m.-midnight, with the time frame extending to 2 a.m. on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, July 3 and July 4.

The new law, which allows for more high-powered fireworks in Georgia, could be revisited in the state Legislature, one state leader said.

Commissioner Mallory Jones said he doesn’t know what legislators were thinking by allowing fireworks to be shot that late at night.

“I think that’s insanity,” he said at the July 7 commission meeting.

State law overrides the county’s nuisance ordinance. Dispatchers received about 50 calls during the Fourth of July night.

“I’ve heard that the sheriff’s office on a couple occasions said ‘don’t call us, call your legislator,’ ’’ Mayor Robert Reichert said.

State Rep. Allen Peake’s Facebook page was littered with complaints about fireworks over the weekend. The posts ranged from dogs being unnerved to a mother saying her epileptic child had seizures because of the noise.

Peake thinks the law could get a second look during the next legislative session, which begins in January.

“In particular, possibly allowing local ordinances to determine when the cutoff time is,” he said in an email.

Macon resident Danny Hinton said fireworks boomed in his neighborhood throughout the weekend.

“It began slowly about noon Friday and just built and built and built until a crescendo” Sunday, he said.

Hinton said there were explosives so loud that “they may as well have been in my living room.”

“Bottom line it doesn’t belong in residential neighborhoods,” he said.

Deputies have to respond to 911 calls even if it’s only a complaint about fireworks, said Bibb County sheriff’s Lt. Sean DeFoe.

“We go to the call regardless because it could be a car backfire, fireworks or gunfire,” he said. “We respond to the calls because you just don’t know. We have to get the information and ride by to see if we see anything.”

To contact writer Stanley Dunlap, call 478-744-4623.