Chattanooga officials are urging area residents to refrain from discharging their own fireworks to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.
At a brief news confererence this afternoon at the Fire Administration Building, Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield said the conditions are just too hot and dry for thousands of people to be shooting off their own fireworks.
“Instead of shooting off their own fireworks, we strongly urge everyone to attend one of the commercial fireworks displays,” said Mayor Littlefield, “such as the Pops on the River event at Coolidge Park.
Fire Chief Randy Parker said extra precautions are being taken at the commercial displays.
“We’re asking event organizers at Coolidge Park and at the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club to thoroughly wet down the grass in the area where the fireworks will be discharged,” said Chief Parker. “As an added safety measure, we’re also going to have our fire-rescue boat on the scene for the duration of the fireworks event.”
Fire Marshal James Whitmire said that promoting commercial fireworks displays over individual use "just makes sense."
“We can take special precautions and monitor a handful of commercial displays,” said Chief Whitmire. “Commercial fireworks companies are licensed and bonded, so they have a stake in conducting these events as safely as possible.”
Mayor Littlefield added that residents shooting off their own fireworks do need to know that they can be held responsible if something goes wrong.
“We’ve just issued this warning today about how dangerous the conditions are related to fire hazards,” said Mayor Littlefield. “Everyone should keep in mind that if they accidentally burn something down, they can be held responsible for the damage.”