W Richland vote on fireworks to be made later

A discussion of fireworks touched off several lively conversations among West Richland City Council members Tuesday.

But in the end, the council decided to take additional public comments at a town hall meeting to be held later this year.

A date has not yet been set.

Changes council members would like to see range from banning all fireworks to making only minor changes to the existing ordinance.

One thing everyone agreed on is the illegal fireworks that have been lighting city skies during the Fourth of July in recent years have to go.

"Addressing that problem has to be a part of this whole discussion," said Councilman Richard Bloom.

Benton Fire District 4 Chief Bill Whealan said he would like to see all aerials banned.

"That includes nothing that pops, moves or flies," he said.

Councilmembers generally are in favor of limiting the number of days and hours fireworks can be shot to 6 p.m. to midnight July 4 and from 6 to 11 p.m. July 3.

The ordinance for 2012 allows residents to shoot them from noon to 11 p.m. July 1-3 and 5, and until midnight July 4.

The council also is in favor of an educational blitz just before the holiday to inform residents which fireworks are legal and how to safely handle them.

No matter how the council votes on the issue this year, the soonest any changes can take effect is 2013.