Saturday, May 18, 2013
A Waterville man was summoned for illegal fireworks use Wednesday after police allegedly caught him red-handed. Literally.
PARTY'S OVER: On Thursday Kennebec County Jail inmates Michael Meader, left, and Ryan Willey rake litter left over from the Winslow Family 4th of July events at Fort Halifax Park in Winslow. The men are participating in a jail community service program.
Staff photo by David Leaming
“It’s a lot of work and we’re already a very busy police department. We’re hopeful these calls will diminish somewhat, because they’ve been a little bit of a strain on our resources.”
Waterville Deputy Chief
"Officers found a man holding two roman candles, which were shooting into the air," Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey said. "The officers approached and waited for the fireworks to stop before issuing a summons."
Throughout central Maine, police responded to more than 30 fireworks-related calls Wednesday. It was the first Fourth of July since a decades-old ban on consumer fireworks was lifted in Maine, and police were busy throughout the day, including fireworks shot at moving vehicle and a report of a toddler injured by fireworks.
Meanwhile, Maine's fire marshal Joe Thomas said he was pleased by the small number of fireworks-related injuries statewide.
In Waterville, where the city council voted in June to ban fireworks within city limits, police responded to 13 calls Wednesday, and issued one summons to Harley L. Feyler, 30, of 5 Butler Court.
Feyler told police that he knew about the city-wide ban on fireworks, according to Rumsey. Feyler was charged with a civil violation and faces a $200 minimum fine.
Rumsey said the ordinance banning fireworks was necessary because of the large number of noise complaints police and city councilors received from residents since a fireworks store opened in Winslow. He said the police department supports the ordinance, but acknowledged it's time-consuming.
"It's a lot of work and we're already a very busy police department," he said. "We're hopeful these calls will diminish somewhat, because they've been a little bit of a strain on our resources."
In Oakland, Paul Languet of Fairfield told police he was driving east on High Street about 7:30 p.m. when fireworks were shot from a yard and struck the passenger side of his truck. Oakland Police Chief Mike Tracy said there are no suspects.
Otherwise, fireworks incidents were rare in Oakland, Tracy said. Police responded to a total of three calls on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In Winslow, police responded to 12 reports of fireworks Wednesday, including report of a 2-year-old girl who was injured when a sparkler set her hair on fire. Police Chief Jeffrey Fenlason said he's unsure how police received notice of the injury, but when they responded to the girl's home on Bellevue Street, her mother refused to answer the door.
Police forced their way into the home and treated the girl at the scene for first-degree burns on her head and face. The incident is still under investigation, Fenlason said.
Sparklers were legal in Maine before the ban on consumer fireworks was lifted.
Ben McCanna -- 861-9239