The Prosper Police Department received several phone calls reporting the use of fireworks on New Year’s Eve, despite the town’s firework prohibition ordinance.
Possessing or using fireworks in Prosper is a misdemeanor offense. Those found guilty of disobeying the ordinance could be issued a citation and, if proven guilty in municipal court, may face fines up to $2,000 for each offense, according to a press release. Prosper Fire Marshall Bryan Ausenbaugh said the ordinance was passed to help keep Prosper residents safe.
“The Prosper Fire Department wishes everyone a safe and happy holiday, and hopes everyone understands these restrictions are in the best interests of public safety,” Ausenbaugh said.
All firework complaints over the holiday weekend were deferred to the Prosper Fire Department, said Assistant Police Chief Gary McHone. Ordinance 00-13 prohibits the use or possession of fireworks anywhere within the town or the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction without first obtaining a permit and providing proof of a bond, according to a press release. Permits are generally issued to commercial-level fireworks display companies. Although merchants are permitted to set up firework stands wherever the law allows, Prosper residents are not permitted to have fireworks in their possession.
Fireworks cause an estimated 18,500 fires in the United States each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 10,500 people for firework-related injuries in 2014, according to the NFPA. McHone said the ordinance promotes the prioritization of safety for Prosper residents.
“I think at the end of the day, the most important reason behind following the firework rules and regulations is the safety aspect of it,” McHone said. “Due to dry conditions and the growth of Prosper, homes are a lot more close than they used to be so those fireworks could cause damage to someone else’s property or potentially cause a fire.”