By Curt Peterson
Inspired by the still-mysterious explosions set off over several nights this summer, the Killington Select Board decided at their July 20 meeting to reinforce Vermont state fireworks law with a local fireworks permit system.
Selectman Jim Haff raised the issue, citing discomfort fireworks cause for veterans and others suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
“They’ve been setting off fireworks Thursday, Friday and Saturday night every week now,” Haff said. “It’s not fair to anyone who is bothered by fireworks.”
The state has a permit system, according to Select Board chair Steve Finneran. He said state law says that it is illegal to possess, transport or set off fireworks any more exciting than hand-held sparklers, without a permit.
“You can walk in and buy fireworks legally,” he said, “but as soon as you go out the door with them, you are breaking the law.”
To acquire a permit in Vermont one must obtain approval by both the local police chief and fire chief, said Killington Police Department Chief Whit Montgomery. He suggested that the Select Board might use the current Special Event permit or the federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency has a generic form that might be appropriate.
“According to the statute, the fire chief is supposed to look at the proposed site where the fireworks are going to be set off,” Montgomery added.
Montgomery and Haff agreed that education about the new permit system would be important. Montgomery added that people from out-of-state wouldn’t know what the Vermont law is.
“I think 80 – 90% of people setting [fireworks] off just don’t know about the law,” Haff said.