AUBURN — Councilors could vote to ban fireworks in the city at their next meeting, they said Monday.
"The real issue for me is personal injury," Councilor Robert Hayes said. "I guess I'd be concerned with the younger kids. When you consider that kind of cost, where we've been is where I think we should stay. I'd consider a total ban on fireworks in the city limits."
A new state law, scheduled to take effect in January, legalizes the sale and possession of commercial fireworks by private citizens. It does let cities and towns adopt their own limitations, however.
Lewiston's City Council approved an ordinance last week banning the sale and use of fireworks there. That came after councilors turned down a proposal to just ban fireworks in the downtown, central part of the city.
Auburn's councilors Monday considered similar options at their workshop meeting. They discussed either banning fireworks completely or creating nuanced limits. Deputy Fire Chief Geoff Low told councilors he was looking for direction from them.
"I'm torn between making a recommendation," Low said. "To go with a norm and say no fireworks in the city limits is tempting. That would go a long way toward keeping our risk profile down. But I can also see some benefit to this as well."
Low said he understood that allowing local businesses to sell fireworks could promote commerce.
Some councilors argued for some leeway, suggesting fireworks be allowed in the outer parts of the city where firearms use is allowed. Councilor Mike Farrell suggested a nightly limit — no fireworks after 10 p.m. nightly, for example.
But Councilors Hayes, Dan Herrick, Ray Berube and Belinda Gerry said a complete ban made more sense.
"If we give people permission to do it at all, I believe we are opening a can worms for the city," Herrick said.
Gerry said she was worried that simply having fireworks would prove to be too much of a temptation for some Auburn kids, and they could hurt themselves.
"In that case, I propose we ban matches, propane gas, combustible materials, alcohol, firearms, ammunition, drain detergents, and I could go on," Farrell said. "We should definitely take everything away from everyone because they could get hurt."
With four councilors voicing support for a total ban, Low said he will prepare an ordinance banning the sale and use of fireworks in Auburn in time for the council's Nov. 21 meeting.