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Sioux City Police received more than 100 fireworks calls in June, issued 1 citation
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Sioux City Police received more than 100 fireworks calls in June, issued 1 citation

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Fireworks tent

A fireworks tent is shown in the parking lot of the Hamilton Boulevard Hy-Vee in late June.

SIOUX CITY -- From the beginning of the year through the end of last week, the Sioux City Police Department has received 140 calls related to fireworks violations; 107 of those calls were made since June 2. 

Of those calls, one resulted in a citation being issued, the department's crime analysis division reported late last week. The infrequency of citations is partly because fireworks violators often leave the area prior to the arrival of officers. 

Sioux City Police Officer Andrew Dutler said the department has had to deal with an increasing volume of fireworks-related calls as the July 4 holiday approaches. 

"I know we've responded to constant calls," he said. 

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Fire wagon
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Pumping Billy
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Fire Station No. 4
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Fire Station No. 4
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Fire Station No. 1

Joe Rodriguez, a Sioux City Fire Rescue lieutenant, said Friday the department has not yet responded to any fireworks-related fires this summer. He was unsure whether there have been any fireworks-related injuries. 

Though residents were discharging fireworks throughout town during June, city ordinances allow fireworks to be lit only on July 3 and 4, and on those days only between 1 and 11 p.m. Fireworks can also be discharged Dec. 31 from 1 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. Jan. 1. 

[Siouxland has seen an increase in fireworks distributors this year, bucking an Iowa trend.]

There are rules covering the "who" and "where" of fireworks, in addition to the "when": no one under age 18 or anyone under the influence of drugs is allowed to discharge or possess a firework, and fireworks cannot be lit in a public roadway, street, alley or park. Fireworks can only be used on property owned by the user, or with the express written consent of the owner. 

This is the third year in recent memory the state of Iowa has permitted fireworks to be discharged on the Fourth of July. The state had banned fireworks since 1938, in the aftermath of catastrophic fires (blamed on fireworks) in Remsen and Spencer in the 1930s. 

The Iowa Legislature repealed the ban in May 2017. 

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Fire wagon
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Pumping Billy
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Fire Station No. 4
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Fire Station No. 4
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Fire Station No. 1

During the summer of 2017, the first year fireworks were allowed, 24 injuries and seven fires in the Sioux City area were traced to fireworks; that July, Mayor Bob Scott proposed a "ban on fireworks" in a Facebook post. Councilwoman Rhonda Capron expressed concern for the elderly, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and pets, who may be alarmed by the noise of fireworks. 

In 2018, the second year fireworks were allowed, the department responded to 422 fireworks-related calls during the week of July 4 and wrote three citations. Officers also gave out several verbal warnings.

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