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Kent residents lodge fireworks complaints at City Council
Several residents made enough noise about fireworks in Kent that the City Council's going to see what it can do to address the problem of so many illegal devices landing in the yards of homes.
Four women told the council during the public comment period of its July 15 meeting that they want the city to ban fireworks or somehow do something to stop the devices that end up on their roofs or in their yards.
"The Fourth of July and fireworks used to be a lot of fun," resident Patricia Roemmich said to the council. "Now I'm afraid to leave my home because I'm afraid something will catch fire. Last year a bush did catch fire. I came to speak because I don't know what else to do. Maybe it would helped if we banned fireworks in Kent."
Residents also wrote letters to the editor in the Kent Reporter to complain about fireworks and sent emails to the council.
Kent bans fireworks except on the Fourth of July and then only legal devices are allowed as well as the large display at night at Lake Meridian Park.
Resident Sally Board told the council she called 911 during the afternoon on Independence Day because of fireworks in her neighborhood. She said a police car showed up and parked on the corner for about 30 minutes.
"The fireworks stopped," she said. "But they started up again when he left."
Board said she called 911 again that night because of so many illegal fireworks going off around her house.
"I got put on hold," she said. "They had so many calls I got a recording that said because of a high volume of fireworks calls (you had to leave a message)."
An officer called back later but Board said she had trouble hearing him the fireworks were so loud.
Councilman Jim Berrios thanked the four women for speaking at the council meeting about the fireworks problem.
"There are challenges for the police department because they have to catch the people shooting off the explosives," Berrios said. "But as a council we need to revisit this and look at what surrounding cities are doing and look at enforcement and what's legal and not legal."
Kent Police reported 341 fireworks incidents, including 144 on the July 4. Officers made two arrests.
"We need to dig into this and find out what's working and not working in other cities," Berrios said to the women who spoke at the meeting. "You deserve that from us."
As chairman of the council's Public Safety Committee, Berrios said he will have the committee look into the fireworks issue to see what can be done to try to reduce the problems in neighborhoods.
Council President Dana Ralph doubted whether a ban would do any good.
"This can come back to the Public Safety Committee so we can look at the tools we have," Ralph said. "But I don't know if a flat out ban would have an impact. They've done that in Renton and fireworks are still going off."