133 people get tickets for illegal fireworks in Wichita

Posted: Updated:
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

Timothy Holliman lives in what he thought to be a quiet, southwest Wichita neighborhood.

“Over here in this area, over in this cul-de-sac there was a whole bunch of mortars going off,” Holliman said.

His neighborhood is one of many that the city of Wichita patrolled during the Fourth of July, in search of illegal fireworks.

“There was at least one instance where somebody used a firework to smack one of my fire officers. Just hit him in the shoulder with a roman candle,” Fire Marshal, Stu Bevis said.

We tagged along with Wichita firefighters and police as they wrote more than half a dozen tickets to people shooting off unapproved fireworks in Holliman’s neighborhood...

“I was just like, “Well, there goes like 4 tickets,” Holliman said.

Bevis said in just two nights, the city wrote 133 tickets. Each one a $250 fine.

“It’s not your right to break the law. Some people when they were faced with a citation were very respectful and understanding, other people were very belligerent,” Bevis said.

Mayor Jeff Longwell said while the enforcement worked as intended, he has a different opinion on the city’s fireworks ordinance.

“Personally, I’d rather see us open it up. I’d rather allow unlimited opportunities for people to shoot fireworks or any size, shape. As long as we did it in a safe environment,” Longwell said. 

Holliman had mixed feelings on the new enforcement.

“I just hope they don’t kill the Fourth of July, that’s all I’m asking,” Holliman said.

The fire department said now the city will be looking into what they can do differently next year.

Thursday is the last night to shoot off fireworks in Wichita.

There will still be officers and firefighters out to write tickets to those who shoot off illegal ones.

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Authorities have fined 133 people $250 each for fireworks violations in the city of Wichita. 

The city bans all fireworks that shoot higher than 6 feet, and people were urged to only shoot them in the city in which they were bought. Mayor Jeff Longwell said this year the city did a better job of enforcing its longstanding ordinance. Teams patrolled in 22 unmarked cars. 

"We've had many people calling to ban all fireworks and so we felt like this was simply a compromise," Mayor Longwell said.

Sedgwick County Emergency Communications received more than 1,400 calls to its non-emergency line from June 30 to July 5. Below is a breakdown for each of those days.

  • June 30 - 122 calls
  • July 1 - 122 calls
  • July 2 - 88 calls
  • July 3 - 251 calls
  • July 4 - 708 calls
  • July 5 - 146 calls

Wesley Healthcare on Thursday released the number of fireworks-related injuries at its campuses.

Wesley Medical Center

  • Total fireworks injuries seen June 27-July 4: 10
  • July 4 only fireworks injuries: 5
  • Types of injuries: Burns and blast injuries from sparklers, roman candles, a punk, and general fireworks.
  • Eight were treated and released, two are still being treated but will be released.
  • Total injuries 2017: 10

Wesley West ER:

  • Total fireworks injuries seen June 27-July 4: 6
  • July 4 only fireworks injuries: 5
  • Types of injuries: One avulsion to the lower level extremity, one debris to the eye from a “camo cracker,” and a variety of first and second degree burns to the groin, back, hand, arm or hand from Roman candles, sparklers, mortar shells and something called a “mighty midget.”
  • All were treated and released
  • Total injuries 2017: 5

Wesley Woodlawn Hospital & ER:

  • Total fireworks injuries seen June 27-July 4: 4
  • July 4 only fireworks injuries: 2
  • Types of injuries: Burns to different areas
  • All were treated and released
  • Total injuries last year: 1

Wesley Derby ER:

  • Total fireworks injuries seen June 27-July 4: 5
  • July 4 only fireworks injuries: 3
  • Types of injuries: Small burns to different parts of the body
  • All were treated and released
  • Total injuries 2017: 7
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