Fireworks are exploding all across the country in preparation for Independence Day, but before you set off some displays in the sky local police departments are reminding people about laws when it comes to fireworks.
In cities like Kingsport, Johnson City and both Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee, fireworks are banned. "In the city where everything is really close together it can be a nuisance, a nose disturbance, as well as a safety issue," says Tom Patton with the Kingsport Police Department.
But police admit enforcing the ban isn't always easy. “Usually you hear them rather than see them, so we don't always know where they are coming from. But we do get a lot of calls and we will go out and investigate," adds Patton.
Some places allow fireworks on a restricted schedule, like Sullivan County. Lt. Robert Dooley with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office tells us fireworks are allowed "between 2 p.m. and 10 p.m. during weekdays. On the July 4th holiday it's until midnight.”
If caught setting off fireworks in a place where they're banned, offenders can be served with a citation, a fine, or even have their fireworks confiscated. Police in Kingsport say each call is handled on a case-by-case scenario.
Deputies in Sullivan County say they respond to all complaints about fireworks, so far they've had nine calls in a week.
Here's a breakdown of fireworks rules in the region:
Abingdon, VA: not allowed
Bristol, VA: not allowed
Russell County: allowed, if following state code
Scott County: allowed, if following state code
Smyth County: allowed, if following state code
Town of Abingdon: not allowed
Washington County, VA: allowed, if following state code
Bristol, TN: not allowed
Elizabethton: yes, during the week before and week after the 4th of July and during those weeks until 11 PM, except on the 4th of July when fireworks are allowed until 11:30.
Greene County: yes
Greeneville: not allowed
Hawkins County: yes
Johnson City: not allowed
Kingsport: Not allowed, but there is a professional fireworks show by the city on Thursday, July 4th on Broad Street.
Rogersville: yes, except in the town park during the 4th of July celebration
Sullivan County: yes
Town of Erwin: not allowed
Town of Unicoi: yes
Unicoi County: yes
Washington County, TN: yes