NORWAY — Selectmen told residents Thursday night that unless they can document the problems with fireworks, there is little officials can do to help resolve the noise since fireworks sales became legal in Maine.
“We need to have it on record,” Selectman Irene Millett told Pikes Hill Road resident Trina Cray. Cray came to the board meeting with her mother and another resident to complain about fireworks going off day and night where she lives.
“If I wanted to hear the noise I'd go to downtown Lewiston and hear gunshots,” she told the board.
Cray said her mother, who is on dialysis and must get up around 4:30 each morning, is kept awake late at night by fireworks she said have even been thrown over her house. Cray said she is concerned not only about the noise but the possibility of fire.
Police Chief Rob Federico said he has had 12 fireworks complaints this year and three last year.
“The biggest change is that there are far more (fireworks) in town than we've had before,” Federico said. Previously fireworks had been a problem in the lakes area and North Norway, but with the new law legalizing the sale of fireworks it is becoming a problem downtown.
The sale of consumer fireworks became law in Maine this year, prompting some towns to draw up ordinances banning their use in certain sections of cities or in entire towns. The legislation to legalize the sale, possession and use of fireworks was created to promote new businesses and jobs, but many residents say it has simply become a nuisance and a danger.
Police told Cray they are attempting to educate people about the law, saying they must have the permission of the landowner to shoot off fireworks on property not their own. Fireworks can only be used between the hours of 9 a.m. and 10 p.m., except on July 4 and Dec. 31 when they can be used from 9 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. This year, because July 4 is on a Wednesday, the law states the time for use is extended not only on that day but the weekend before and the weekend after July 4.
There are several fireworks vendors in the area, including one on Route 26 in Paris and a second that opens Friday in the old Penley Mill on Penley Avenue in West Paris.
“Fireworks should be used for celebrations like the Fourth of July, but the rest of they year? Why?” Cray asked.
The board said it will consider action if enough complaints are logged from residents.