TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Fourth of July is right around the corner, but for people in Topeka, they have fewer days to celebrate than in years past.
This year, the city council decided to shorten the period to sell and light fireworks.
The period to set off fireworks this year in Topeka is now July 3 from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. through July 4 from 10 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.
That’s two days less than what was allowed last year.
City council member Sylvia Ortiz said the new ordinance was intended to be a compromise.
“Some people didn’t want [fireworks] at all,” said Ortiz. “Some people wanted one day, and I think that was the compromise to come back with the two days, and I think everyone felt comfortable with that.”
The new ordinance also requires firework stands to hand out notes with every purchase to remind people of the rule change.
But, some people aren’t convinced it will stop people from lighting fireworks outside of the designated time frame.
“I’m willing to bet that I’ll be up at night, my dog will be barking at me at 12 in the morning saying that there are still fireworks going off,” said Cian O’Byrne, who works at a firework stand.
The Topeka Police Department said they received 60 firework-related calls over the weekend.
They said getting such a high number of reports can make it difficult to respond to them all.
“If it’s a high priority call such as anything with violence or anything that’s acting out, those get priority over the fireworks calls, of course,” said Lt. Andrew Beightel. “As officers clear those calls, the fireworks calls will then be responded to.”
Ortiz said some people have expressed confusion and frustration over the rule change, but she hopes people will follow them while they’re in place.
Some of the penalties for setting off fireworks outside of the designated time frame could include a minimum fine of $250 and/or 179 days in jail.
To learn more about the new ordinance, click HERE.