Providence may ban fireworks without permit

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – If you want to light a sparkler in Providence, you may soon need a permit.

An ordinance approved by a City Council subcommittee Wednesday would prohibit the use or sale of any fireworks unless a permit from the city is obtained.

The ordinance’s sponsor, Councilman David Salvatore, called safety issues with fireworks a “prevalent issue” throughout the country. He said curbing the use of fireworks would keep residents safe.

“It’s clear based on the volume of phone calls I’ve received over the last several years related to fireworks that we do have an issue in this city,” Salvatore, a Democrat from Ward 14, told Eyewitness News. Ward 14 includes the Wanskuck and Elmhurst neighborhoods.

Rhode Island law allows for sparklers or ground devices that do not explode, but Salvatore’s proposal would require vendors to pay $50 for a yearly permit and users to pay $25 for a daily permit. An earlier proposal by Salvatore would have only allowed the use or sale of fireworks between July 2 and July 4, but the councilman introduced an amendment Wednesday.

Those caught using or selling fireworks without a permit could be subject to a maximum $500 fine, according to the ordinance.

The ordinance will not be on the agenda for Thursday’s City Council meeting, but will likely be voted on later this month. Salvatore said the proposal must also be approved by the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal & Review.

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Dan McGowan ( ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan