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Williamson County Officials Brace For New Year's Fireworks
Many people ring in the New Year by setting off fireworks, and Williamson County officials want to remind people they are illegal in and around most cities. But they say enforcing the law can be overwhelming.
County officials say they're inundated with calls during this time of year because many people are setting them off illegally within city limits.
"Williamson County receives a lot of 9-1-1 calls or requests for someone to come out and investigate the use of fireworks in their neighborhood or to report other uses with fireworks, and quite frankly there aren't enough individuals to investigate or enforce all of the calls throughout the county," says Jared Thomas, the Emergency Management Coordinator for Williamson County.
And while most city officials agree it's hard to enforce, that doesn't mean they're not trying. "The fire inspectors out of the fire marshals office, if they see it they will be issuing citations, also police officers, including regular patrol officers can issue citations," says Cedar Park Fire Chief James Mallinger.
So while not everyone will get caught, those that do could be stuck paying a fine of up to $2,000. But Chief Mallinger says aside from fines you'll also be liable for any damage you cause. "If you create a small fire that creates a bigger fire, burn someone's home, you're liable for that person's house," he says.
Hays and Travis Counties have decided to prohibit certain fireworks like skyrockets with sticks and missiles with fins. Williamson County has issued a voluntary ban, but many are still selling those fireworks.
By Lydia Pantazes