Veterans say McCracken County fireworks cutoff time is helpful
PADUCAH, KY — Two veterans say they support cutoff times for the use of fireworks in McCracken County.
The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department says on nights before Independence Day, 11 p.m. is the cutoff. On the holiday itself, the cutoff is midnight. The cutoff then returns to 11 p.m.
The rule does not apply to Paducah, which bans the discharge of fireworks within city limits. However, the sale of fireworks within the city is legal under a set of requirements.
Army veteran Pat Kidd, who served in Desert Storm, has been selling fireworks at a tent outside Kentucky Oaks Mall to help raise money for the church he attends, New Life Apostolic Tabernacle in Paducah.
Kidd says it’s a good idea to have cutoff times, because hearing the sound of fireworks in the middle of the night can be very stressful. He says to calm himself down, he always has to get up from bed to see where the boom is coming from.
Fellow Desert Storm veteran Steven Hairston of St.Louis, Missouri, stopped by Kidd’s tent to purchase some fireworks Tuesday afternoon. Hairston said he also supports having cutoff times.
“Veterans like me, sometimes we can’t stand the noise, so we expect to hear the noise from certain times. After that, I think it might impact our emotions,” said Hairston. “If I’m expecting it, then I’m kind of prepared for it. But if it’s unexpected, then it does take me back to the time when we were serving in the Gulf War.”
Hairston brought his granddaughters and niece with him. They told Local 6 hearing fireworks in the middle of the night can be frightening.
“We were sleeping the other night, and then a firework just went off out of nowhere, and then we all woke up. And we couldn’t go to sleep until like five o’clock in the morning,” said Khamya Bell, one of Hairston’s granddaughters.
Hairston says while enjoying fireworks, think about the people around you.
“Especially our veterans that served in wars. We need to be respectful of them, and then just respectful for other people that are your neighbors that may be a little bit elderly as well,” said Hairston.
The sheriff’s department consulted with the McCracken County Attorney’s Office before setting the cutoff times several years ago, said Chief Deputy Mike Turnbow. They decided on 11 p.m. because it usually gets dark at around 9 p.m., and two hours is enough time to set off fireworks, Turnbow said. If the nights preceding or following Independence Day fall on a weekend, the cutoff time is midnight.
Turnbow said each violator gets one warning. Deputies will then cite repeat offenders with second degree disorderly conduct. A citation carries a mandatory court appearance and a potential fine of up to $500, said Turnbow.
Although the sheriff’s department has given warnings over the years, no citations have been issued, Turnbow added.