Should Pelham fireworks tragedy lead to ban?
Tuesday night’s fireworks explosion at a Pelham residence appears to have caused Selectmen Chairman William McDevitt to rethink his opinion regarding the town’s long-standing tolerance of the use of consumer fireworks.
Last week, in response to a Sun reporter’s questions about local fireworks bans in neighboring Salem and Windham, N.H., and the statewide ban in Massachusetts, McDevitt said “(fireworks) don’t bother me, as long as it’s done in moderation and not too late at night.”
McDevitt also said last week that in his 20 years of service on the board, “We have not gotten an email or phone call on it, and nobody’s ever said we need to put a stop to this.”
In the wake of the July 3 explosion at the Dodge Road home of Jeannie and Chris Pappathan that injured 11 people including five children, however, McDevitt said selectmen may be ready to at least consider the fireworks question at Town Meeting, depending on the will of the people.
“First, you have to let things calm down a little bit, and then get some sense of what the public wants to do,” said McDevitt in a phone interview Thursday. “My opinion is, if I felt there was an overwhelming desire on the part of the public to create a (fireworks) ban, then the appropriate thing to do would be to propose it at Town Meeting and let the public vote on it.”
Though the state law permitting the sale and use of fireworks also empowers selectmen to enact a ban on their own, without going to a Town Meeting vote, McDevitt would prefer to have public input on such a decision, he said.
The selectmen chairman said he received his first email on the subject of fireworks on July 4.
“One person emailed me and said, ‘Don’t ban fireworks,’” McDevitt said.
The home fireworks explosion impacted the selectmen directly, McDevitt noted, as the homeowners are the daughter and son-in-law of Vice-Chairman Ed Gleason.
Thanks to Reporter John Collins for Thursday’s Column Blog post.Explore posts in the same categories: The Column