Legal fireworks unlikely in South Portland

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Starting Jan. 1, 2012, Mainers will be allowed buy, sell and use consumer fireworks.

But probably not in South Portland, which is joining Portland in moving toward a citywide ban on the sale and use of fireworks.

The law enacted this year by the Legislature and Gov. Paul LePage allows the purchase and use of fireworks, save for the type of giant explosives that illuminate the sky on the Fourth of July.

The law also allows municipalities to pass local ordinances regulating or prohibiting the sale or use of the fireworks.

At a workshop Monday, city councilors were unanimous in their desire to prohibit the use of the fireworks, Councilor Tom Coward said. Councilors said the population density in the city makes the products too dangerous to allow. 

City Manager Jim Gailey said he had already fielded a couple phone calls from people interested in selling fireworks, but he was unaware of any support for the products from residents. But he still expects fireworks to be a hot issue.

“Though it has been reported out from what other communities are doing, fireworks may not have registered with people here yet,” he said. “After it’s in the papers a bit, it may be of more interest to residents.”

In neighboring Scarborough, the town manager, fire chief and town councilors, seem inclined to let the state law take effect. However, Fire Chief Michael Thurlow is pushing for an ordinance to stipulate that any business selling fireworks must be required to install a sprinkler system.

The firework ordinance may come before the South Portland City Council for official action as soon as the first week of October, Gailey said.

Mario Moretto can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or mmoretto@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @riocarmine.

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