PARIS — Chief David Verrier told selectmen Monday that the Paris police department has received 30 complaints about fireworks since May. Most were before 10 p.m., and weren't illegal.
Verrier said the calls were an extra load on his officers. “We've been responding to a lot of calls for service. We don't need 30 more complaints.”
Some complaints were from fireworks shot in cemeteries and in the street. When officers arrived, nobody was around. He said there have been no injuries reported, and no summonses written.
He said he hoped there would be fewer calls now that the Fourth of July has passed. When asked if he thought there should be an ordinance, Verrier said it would be a good idea, especially in the downtown area. It's only a matter of time before someone is injured, he said.
However, he praised Havoc Fireworks, the new store on Main Street. “I think they're doing extremely well,” he said. Verrier said he didn't burden a successful Paris business. “We don't have a lot of businesses in town.”
“We don't want to have a business that's thriving move out of town.”
Verrier said the sound of explosions have been particularly disruptive to veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “It was concerning to them that they had to listen to these fireworks going off,” he said. “It causes stress on them.”
The effects on animals are another concern. Rick and Marcia Campbell Cummings said the explosions have caused their horses to panic.
Marcia Cummings said she and her husband have heard fireworks in the middle of the night for the last six nights. “I felt like I was in a war zone,” she said.
Franca Ainsworth said her neighbors' fireworks sounds like a cannon. She said she's concerned about pine needles in her yard catching fire, and recommended altering the town's noise ordinance to govern fireworks use.
Anne Stanley told the board that on July 3, someone in a passing truck on her road had hurled a “small but noisy” bundle of firecrackers in front of her house.
Chairman Sam Elliot said the board would hold a public hearing on the issue soon. “This is the first year. We need to get a handle on it.” He said the town should wait and see if fireworks use dies off now that the Fourth of July has passed.
“It's funny, it's Independence Day, and we're talking about limiting people's ability to do things,” Elliot said.
Outside the meeting, Rick Cummings said the noise over at his house had caused his horses to stampede. He was concerned his stampeding horses could break through a gate and escape. He said his fencing is strong, but horses can be powerful when they're scared.
“We don't want to take somebody's fun away, but let's find a safe place to use these,” he said.