The resolution passed Monday morning allows for fireworks sales to continue. Rutherford County still allows sales and use of fireworks, despite the dry conditions. TMP/J. Fagan
The Murfreesboro City Council met at 7 o’clock Monday morning to consider an emergency ban on the use of fireworks, but the adopted resolution allows sales of fireworks to continue and exempts Murfreesboro's Celebration Under The Stars from the ban.
"Residents may save their fireworks until we decide to lift the ban or they may save them for the Christmas or New Year holidays," Councilman Toby Gilley said. "To me, its just common sense, because we have had two fires arising from these fireworks in the past three days."
Mayor Tommy Bragg pointed out that the fires occurred in areas of the county where no full time fire protection is offered, and said that if council members were worried about safety then they should also cancel the Celebration Under The Stars event as well.
"The city should not be firing its own fireworks while its telling residents that they cannot use the fireworks that they have purchased," he said. "What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
He also pointed out that Rutherford County also recently considered a ban and determined that the county government had no such authority.
Both Assistant City Attorney David Ives and City Manager Rob Lyons insisted that the resolution had been thoroughly researched by legal staff, who determined that legal authority existed for banning fireworks and produced a resolution which will withstand legal scrutiny.
Councilwoman Madelyn Scales-Harris expressed concern that the Celebration Under The Stars would create unsafe conditions for Murfreesboro firefighters.
"I have received several calls from firefighters who feel that the extreme heat and dry conditions put them at great risk, so I think we should consider ending the fireworks show," she said.
Fire Chief Cumby Gaines then informed the council that all precautions were being taken in regards to the show, including wetting the 700-foot "fall zone" beforehand.
"There is a certain amount of risk involved in firefighting," Councilman Ron Washington said. "They knew what they were getting into when they signed up for the job, and they have been trained to handle it."
"I have complete confidence in our fire department to do the job," he added.
Gilley motioned for approval of the resolution, and Councilman Eddie Smotherman seconded the motion, which then passed unanimously after Scales-Harris switched her vote from 'no' to 'aye.'