LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If you've been hearing loud booms in your neighborhood from fireworks, you aren't alone. And no matter how annoying it gets, fire officials say you can expect more of the same for the rest of the weekend.
Police are taking lots of calls about explosions. People are saying they heard the boom, but didn't see any bright lights. Fire officials said it's an illegal firework that can be very dangerous in the wrong hands.
A 2011 YouTube video showed a huge firework going off in the middle of a Louisville street with cars and houses all around. Arson investigators say it is a perfect example of why Metro Louisville has a fireworks ordinance banning anything that shoots or explodes.
Looking at the video, Metro Arson's Major Henry Ott said of the firework, "That was a defective device." The defective firework used on city streets shouldn't have been sold but was legally used in 2011, the only year when the ordinance was dropped. It's designed to go higher than it did when the person set it off. Too low to the ground, the vibration sets off a car alarm on the video. Ott says the defective firework ends up on roofs and can cause fires and serious damage to people and property.
"These devices are dangerous," said Ott, "When the University of Louisville won the National Championship, we arrested several people for throwing them into a crowd of a thousand people," he told us.
July 4 may be over, but the fireworks have just begun according to Ott who anticipates a busy weekend.
Ott said one firework in particular is cause for extra alarm. It makes a new sound this year that even Ott didn't recognize: Extremely loud explosions you may have heard in the last couple of days. "That's what's shaking the ground," he explained, Silver Salute Shells. Sometimes the shells are used at the end of a fireworks show with no visual effect, it's just audible.
Ott said people aren't shooting them in the air, they're lighting them and throwing them down causing the explosion. Ott said if someone gets hurt or they start a fire, investigators will come after you with more than just a citation and a fine. You could face wanton endangerment or arson charges.
Typically Ott said they deal with three to four structure fires on any given night. On the Fourth of July this year, they had 28 fires called in as being caused by fireworks. They're still investigating how many actually were. "People were shooting them well within their neighbor's houses," Ott said.
Metro Arson has some fireworks investigations right now including a probe of some teens who threw fireworks into a woman's home and set part of her house on fire. In another case, suspects who shot fireworks at trains started a fire.
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