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July 1, 2014

Duncan ordinance prohibits fireworks

DUNCAN — A person caught violating Duncan’s ban on fireworks by setting them off in city limits could face a $299 fine.

This is just part of what a city ordinance pertaining to fireworks in city limits spells out. In fact, the ordinance prohibits the possession of fireworks within city limits, not just the discharge or sale.

“It is unlawful and an offense against the city for any person to store, to offer for sale, expose for sale, sell at retail or wholesale, possession or use, explode or discharge any pop bottle rocket, Roman candle or any other type of fireworks within the city limits,” according to the ordinance.

The City of Comanche also has a similar ordinance in place, which doesn’t allow for fireworks to be ignited in city limits. Comanche’s ordinance, however, doesn’t prohibit possession of fireworks in the city.

Duncan does have some exemptions when it comes to possession and fire of fireworks. But those exemptions require groups and individuals to purchase a city permit to do so.

“Application for permits shall be made in writing at least 30 days in advance of the date of the display,” according to the ordinance. “After such privilege has been granted, sale, possession, use and distribution of fireworks for such display shall be lawful for that purpose only. No permit granted shall be transferable.”

Some instances when fireworks may be approved with a permit include a public display, which has been held in previous years. The final year for a fireworks display in Duncan was 2010. In 2011, the Duncan City Council’s tight budget would allow for a $10,000 expenditure on fireworks.

The City of Comanche is one of three communities hosting a fireworks display in Stephens County this year. Others include Marlow and Bray.

With Duncan’s permit system in place, those granted a permit have to provide proof of financial responsibility to “satisfy claims for damages to property or personal injuries arising out of any fact or omission on the part of such person, firm or corporation or any agent or employee thereof, in such amount, character, and form as the fire chief determines to be necessary for the protection of the public,” according to the ordinance.

Those allowed to use the permit have to safely dispose of any unfired fireworks remaining after the display.

“The fire chief shall seize, take, remove or cause to be removed at the expense of the owner all stocks of fireworks offered or exposed for sale, stored or held in violation of this section,” according to the ordinance.

Although fireworks are scheduled in three communities, dry conditions have previously resulted in the cancellation of such displays. This year, however, there isn’t a burn ban in effect in Stephens County because of recent rainfall.

In 2011, a burn ban and dry conditions negatively impacted fireworks stands selling such inventory. That same year, Marlow canceled its fireworks display at the request of its fire chief.

The county removed its burn ban in February, and the Stephens County commissioners have determined a ban isn’t needed at this time. Since the beginning of June, Duncan has received 6.08 inches of precipitation.

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