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Officials urge safety, caution with fireworks

The Fourth of July is always a time for family and friends to come together, but it is also a time of potential fires caused by fireworks.

“We want everyone to have fun but also hope everyone practices safety and social distancing,” said Russellville Fire Marshal Justin Green.

Green said there are no permits required to shoot fireworks, but he does recommend taking several safety precautions.

“Make sure you have water and fire extinguishers,” Green said. “Make sure you have your grass cut wherever you plan on shooting at, and keep your distance from the fireworks so no one gets hurt.”

Green said it is important for community members to act quickly if a fire starts and call 911 immediately if it gets out of hand. “It takes us a little while to get out there, so the quicker we receive a call, the better,” Green said.

Green said he does not know what type fireworks usually cause the most trouble with fires, but injuries to children caused by Roman candles and sparklers are common.

“It’s important to keep an eye on kids and make sure everyone is being safe,” Green said.

This year Russellville will not be hosting its annual Jam on Sloss Lake firework show – and Vina will not be hosting its annual July Fest, which includes a firework display – so Green said the city is preparing for the likelihood of more private resident fireworks being shot off than usual.

“We will probably see a lot more people shooting fireworks, but hopefully we don’t have any issues,” Green said.

The Russellville City Council voted to cancel the firework show this year to avoid COVID-19 safety issues.

“We hate having to cancel, but we know it is the best decision for everyone,” said Russellville Mayor David Grissom. “Hopefully next year we will be able to do it bigger and better.”