No fireworks for city of Luverne

Published 2:51 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2009

People everywhere will be celebrating the Fourth of July this holiday weekend, but for the city of Luverne, that is going to mean some changes—no fireworks’ show.

According to Sherri Richburg, executive director of the Crenshaw County Chamber of Commerce, the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s Office requires a pyrotechnician, a licensed fireworks operator, to shoot the fireworks, something that has not been done in the past in Luverne.

“For the past ten years or more we have sent an application and an application fee to the Alabama State Fire Marshal’s office, and they have issued the fireworks display permit to the Chamber,” Richburg explained. “I haven’t received anything indicating that they had new regulations or that any changes had been made. But, when I sent the application in this year, I received a whole list of things that had to be done first in order for us to get a permit, and we just couldn’t make the deadline.”

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Richburg said the Luverne Volunteer Fire Department had been shooting the fireworks for the last several years, with several of the firemen plus the fire trucks on hand for safety and precautions. However, Richburg said that no one on the VFD is a certified pyrotechnician; with that news, even the fire department would not be allowed to control the fireworks’ display legally, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

“We could have hired a pyrotechnic company to shoot the fireworks for us, but they would only come on July 4th, and that would have cost the Chamber a minimum of $10,000, something that we just didn’t have,” Richburg said.

Another company said it would put on a fireworks’ display for the city on Sunday, July 5, at a cost of $3,000, but that idea was scrapped by the Chamber.

“The Fourth is already over, and many people will be traveling on vacation or either attending church on Sunday, so we decided against that,” she said.

Richburg said that she had spoken with some of the members of the Luverne VFD, and plans were already in the works for next year.

“We (the Chamber) and the Luverne Fire Department are going to make every effort to ensure that we will meet all of the requirements needed for next year’s celebration,” Richburg. “We believe we can get at least one of our firefighters certified as a licensed pyrotechnician by this time next year.”

Richburg was apologetic about the entire situation.

“We are so sorry about this because we know what a big event the fireworks’ show is for Crenshaw County,” she said, “but we have to be in compliance with the laws—we’ll just take this opportunity to make next year even bigger and better than ever.”