DENVER — All eyes were to the sky Monday night to celebrate the nation’s birthday with fireworks. Many cities in the metro area have banned personal fireworks, but that isn’t stopping some people.
And it’s causing some friction between neighbors.
A patchwork of laws in Colorado makes it confusing to know where fireworks are legal. Some cities allow fireworks that don’t leave the ground. Others don’t allow a thing — like in Denver.
One resident said police aren’t doing much to uphold the law.
“I am a citizen of the U.S. I love this country as much as anybody else does. This is about laws we have in effect,” said Darlene, who didn’t want us to use her last name.
But by night, Darlene said Ruby Hill sounds like a war zone, with explosions that last for a month before and after the Fourth.
“It’s constant huge mortars going off. Bangs! Bangs! Bangs! It gets to you. You get to the point you can’t take it anymore,” she said.
Darlene used her cellphone to capture fireworks in the sky and those with neighbors.
“‘You know fireworks are illegal?’” she asked a fireworks violator in her neighborhood.
“‘It’s OK,'” the man says.
“‘It’s not OK. And now I got you on film. And I’m going to call the cops,’” she told him.
Then the woman shouts, “You are ruining the Fourth.”
Darlene called police and she called their response a dud. She then asked FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers to look into it.
“They talked to me for about half-an-hour about how there was nothing they can do about it. Because they did not see them. And the city councilman is to blame and the city attorney is to blame because they won’t prosecute these cases. They write the ticket, but they won’t get prosecuted. So what’s the point? These are things the cops are actually telling me,” she said.
A Denver police sergeant said that’s not how officers should have handled the call. He said they should have had her sign a complaint and served it to the violator.
“I see it as a cultural norm in this neighborhood,” said another neighbor, Tanya Cardwell, about the heavily Hispanic population in Ruby Hill.
She said fireworks are a way to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations or anything of joy. She welcomed the fireworks as an opportunity to get to know her neighbors.
“We’ll grab a six-pack or something fun to eat and head over and meet our neighbors and end up bonding,” she said.
But she can understand the frustration. She’s also a sound sleeper.
“My intention is not to ruin the fun for everybody. You have to understand this goes on a constant basis,” Darlene said.
She said she has no problems with the smaller firecrackers she remembers from her youth. But the huge ones burn a hole in her patience and rattle her dog.
“I have a dog that trembles, shakes and is terrified when these things go off,” she said. “For cops not do anything about it when it’s an actual law, it aggravates me. I don’t know how to make it better.”
Penalties for violating fireworks laws in Colorado vary. But you can face fines up to $2,750 and one year in jail.