Hawkins County and cities will enforce fireworks curfews

Jeff Bobo • Jul 2, 2020 at 8:30 PM

ROGERSVILLE — Technically the unincorporated area of Hawkins County doesn’t have restrictions on citizens’ fireworks use on their own property.

Sheriff Ronnie Lawson told the Times News Wednesday, however, that his deputies are enforcing an 11 p.m. curfew for all residential fireworks displays.

Fireworks complaints that occur after that time could result in the offenders receiving a citation for disturbing the peace, Lawson added.

Fireworks tents have popped up across the region, and one vendor located on Silver Lake Road in Church Hill told the Times News Wednesday that sales are expected to be way up this year.

Folks have been cooped up without much to do during the COVID-19 crisis, and they’re ready to let of steam with some bottle rockets and Roman candles, he said.

That’s not necessarily good news for neighborhood residents with pets. That’s why every municipality in Hawkins County has established limited hours when residential fireworks can be shot.

City hours for residential fireworks

Church Hill police Tweeted Wednesday, “With July 4th rapidly approaching, what are the fireworks restrictions in Church Hill? July 3-5 you can shoot off fireworks between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m., Sunday from 1 p.m. until 11 p.m. Fireworks must be shot from within the property lines of the person shooting them. Be safe.”

Mount Carmel Police Department Chief Ken Lunsford said his department enforces a fireworks “quiet time” of 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., which coincides with the quiet time associated with other loud activities as identified in the city ordinance.

Surgoinsville Police Department Chief James Hammonds said the use of fireworks is allowed there between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. all year around except on the Fourth of July when the deadline is extended to midnight.

Bulls Gap City Manager Mike Solomon noted that because his town is policed by the sheriff’s office, the 11 p.m. curfew will be enforced inside the city limits of Bulls Gap as it is in the county.

Rogersville prohibits the residential use of fireworks after 10 p.m., but doesn’t specify what time of day they can begin. 

On Saturday at 9:30 p.m., Rogersville City Park will host the city’s annual massive fireworks display. 

Read about Kingsport’s plans and restrictions

Fireworks liability warning from the TDCI 

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office issued a press release Wednesday urging Tennesseans this weekend to consider the financial and physical risks that can arise from a fireworks-related mishap.

Accidental fires or damages caused by fireworks in a Tennessee municipality that bans fireworks, or at times when fireworks are prohibited, may not be covered by traditional homeowners or renters insurance policies, thus putting the financial burden of making repairs or a hospital stay solely on the shoulders of consumers.

The TDCI further states that consumer fireworks pose a hazard to Tennesseans’ health and safety, especially to young people. Nationwide, an estimated 9,100 fireworks injuries were treated at hospital emergency departments in 2018 while 36% of fireworks injuries were to children younger than 15 years old. About 45% of fireworks injuries were burns.

“During the Fourth of July holiday, I urge Tennesseans to not risk starting a fire or injuring themselves, thereby adding to the burdens of our hardworking emergency and medical personnel,” said Assistant Commissioner for Fire Prevention Gary Farley. “Celebrate the holiday safely by thinking of others and not pursuing risky behavior that can lead to an injury or death.”

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