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Story Last modified at 11:18 p.m. on Wednesday, January 5, 2011

After busy New Year's, new Anchorage fireworks law may be modified

The Associated Press


Fireworks are launched from a home near Bear Mountain on New Year's Eve. Members of the Anchorage Assembly say they have received hundreds of complaints about the noise and one Assembly member is proposing a repeal of the new city law that allows fireworks.

Some Anchorage Assembly members say they want to repeal or modify a new law that allowed fireworks on private property over New Year's Eve.

Assembly members told the Anchorage Daily News they received dozens of e-mails critical of the law. One serious injury was reported: a 21-year-old airman at an Eagle River address lost his hand when a fireworks launcher exploded as he held it, Anchorage police told the newspaper.

Assemblywoman Harriet Drummond hopes to introduce a proposal to repeal the law after getting complaints from residents. Others members who supported the measure say they may consider limiting certain types of fireworks.

But Assembly chairman Dick Traini, who sponsored the law, said he thought that the law was a success.

The law approved in December permits fireworks on private property only from 9:30 p.m. New Year's Eve to 1 a.m. New Year's Day. The law expires after New Year's Eve 2011.

Drummond told the Daily News she hopes to have a proposal to repeal the law immediately ready to introduce at the Jan. 11 Assembly meeting. She voted against the law last month.

"I got over 30 e-mails New Year's Eve and the next morning, and they continue ... It's overwhelmingly against the fireworks," Drummond told the newspaper. "I'm getting reports of people whose dogs were terrified for five hours."

Assemblyman Patrick Flynn said he got 70 to 100 e-mails, and they continue to arrive.

But other Assembly members said they would be more open to restricting the noisiest, most explosive fireworks or limiting fireworks in dense neighborhoods.

In the only serious injury reported over New Year's, Anchorage police said Zach Stewart's hand was "destroyed" after the barrel of a fireworks launcher exploded while he went to put it on the ground just before midnight, on New Year's Eve.

Anchorage police spokesman Lt. Dave Parker said Stewart was at the Nicoli Way home of a fellow Elmendorf Air Force Base airman at the time. On Monday, Jan. 3, a spokeswoman for Providence Alaska Medical Center said Stewart was in good condition.

This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, January 5, 2011.