WEST PARIS — Residents annoyed and frightened by neighbors launching fireworks at all hours have asked town officials to control their use.

Several residents gathered at a selectmen’s meeting on Thursday to convey their frustration in finding a solution to noise from fireworks being launched day and night.

Several residents said the noise has become more or less constant, and at times appeared to be done past the legal hours set by state statute.

“Our animals are getting spooked and we have lots of children,” Stephanie Cooper said. “We can’t even think about putting them to bed until after they’re done.”

Cooper told selectmen that on at least one occasion, a firework had ended up in her yard.

“We’re tired of it,” she said.

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Like other neighboring towns, West Paris does not have a local ordinance controlling the use of fireworks, which first became legal in Maine in 2012.

Instead, their use is controlled by state law, which prohibits displays after 10 p.m. except on July 4, Dec. 31 and the weekends immediately before and after those dates, when they may be shot off until 12:30 a.m., according to the state fire marshal’s office. Violators can be subject to fines ranging from $50 to $500.

Residents, however, disparaged that enforcement of the laws was inconsistent. Selectman Wade Rainey, noting that West Paris does not have a local police force and relies on Oxford County Sheriff’s deputies, said that passing a local ordinance restricting the use of fireworks would prove impossible to enforce.  

At this news, Arlene Kerr asked if the town could look into hiring a local constable to ensure displays ended by the curfew.

“It’s about being respectful to your neighbors,” Kerr said. 

Rainey encouraged residents to log complaints with the town’s fire chief, Norm St. Pierre, who would pass them along to the state fire marshal’s office.

“Even if you had an ordinance, some of these people are going to do it anyway,” Rainey said. 

One resident said that it was simply too late to change people’s behavior.

“It’s almost like the horse is out and now we’re trying to close the barn door,” the resident said.


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