The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 9, 2010

Carthage council lifts longtime fireworks ban

CARTHAGE, Mo. — With the Carthage City Council’s vote to allow people to shoot off fireworks, Carthage now has some of the area’s most liberal regulations regarding fireworks on the Fourth of July.

The council voted 7-2 on Tuesday night to allow both the sale and discharge of fireworks from June 30 to July 5.

While Joplin, Neosho, Carl Junction and Webb City allow the shooting of fireworks inside city limits, none of the cities allows bottle rockets. Now, Carthage does.

Carthage Mayor Mike Harris said the issue of banning bottle rockets was discussed in committee, but committee members didn’t believe the restriction could be upheld.

“It would be even more difficult to enforce,” he said. “You’d have to know where (the bottle rockets) were coming from.”

Harris also noted that the town has allowed visitors for the annual Marian Days celebration in August to discharge fireworks. He said it didn’t make sense that the city “allows strangers” to shoot them, but not Carthage residents.

Despite residents’ comments opposing the shooting of fireworks — including former Mayor Jim Woestman’s display of a cardboard box of last year’s fireworks remnants that landed in his yard — the council voted to allow the discharging of fireworks inside the city limits for the first time in more than 60 years.

Councilmen John Studebaker and Charlie Bastin cast the opposing votes, with Studebaker saying he was just doing what his constituents wanted him to do.

“Most of what I heard was people wanted me to vote ‘no,’” he said. “Nearly half the city would be off-limits to fireworks.”

State law prohibits the shooting of fireworks within 600 feet of a school, church or hospital, so a large portion of Carthage is still a no-fireworks zone.

Fire Chief John Cooper said the city’s longtime ban on fireworks hasn’t always stopped people from shooting them.

“It was me riding around in a golf cart at Municipal Park with fireworks going on all around me, and I’m saying, ‘Isn’t this supposed to be illegal?’” Cooper said.

Despite the lifting of the citywide ban, Municipal Park is still a no-fireworks zone.

Carthage’s new measure includes a restriction adopted by many cities. The fire marshal or fire chief may enact a fireworks ban, similar to a burn ban, if conditions are too dry.


Joplin Fire Marshal Dale Brooks said fireworks rules can be difficult to enforce. He said the department will investigate complaints and, if necessary, confiscate bottle rockets and other fireworks beyond the approved consumer grade.

“(Bottle rockets are) so unpredictable,” he said. “The way they operate, they get lodged into the shingles, trailing a blast of sparks. They’re really good about getting into nooks and crannies, and starting fires.”

Joplin’s code allows for the sale and discharge of fireworks from noon to 11 p.m. from July 1 through 5 this year.


Scott Maness, Neosho Fire Department training officer and inspector, said Neosho’s ban on the sale and discharge of bottle rockets can be enforced. Maness said he will be busy, as it gets closer to July 4, inspecting fireworks tents and helping enforce Neosho’s laws.

“I tell them flat out, you cannot have bottle rockets,” he said.


Bottle rockets and all other fireworks can cause serious blast injuries or burns, said Dr. Karl Kauffman, an emergency physician at St. John’s Regional Medical Center.

“Bottle rockets, those can move very fast, and they can easily cause damage to the face,” he said. The tips of sparklers, he said, burn “at about 1,000 degrees or more.”

Kauffman said a large percentage of the fireworks-related injuries he has seen involved impaired judgment or movement because of alcohol.

“That’s just been my experience,” he said. “People say, ‘Let’s put this firecracker on the bottom of my beer can and take a drink out of it,’ or, ‘Let’s surprise my buddy who’s passed out.’”

Other towns

Neosho has a relatively long period of legal fireworks sale and discharge, from June 20 to July 10, though officials said most stands shut down July 5. Carl Junction allows the shooting of fireworks from July 1 to 5. In Webb City, fireworks are allowed July 1 to 4.

Text Only
Local News
  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cherokee County Commission accepts general counsel's resignation

    Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the Cherokee County Commission since 2005, submitted a handwritten resignation to the board on Monday in the aftermath of a landfill controversy.

    July 22, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Parents can get help with school supplies

    I don’t know much about demographics other than the fact that I no longer belong to a “targeted demographic.” When I was younger, I was bombarded by commercials and ads from companies that were trying to sell me things that I not only needed but wanted.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jasper County Commission reviews traffic plans

    The Jasper County Commission will hold public hearings today and Thursday on a number of traffic changes proposed in the county. No one spoke when the first hearing was held Tuesday as part of the regular commission meeting, according to Jim Honey, Eastern District associate commissioner.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho school board hires company to manage substitutes

    Citing its hopes of shifting health care costs and utilizing more time from retired teachers, the Neosho Board of Education granted a contract Monday to a temporary employee company to manage its substitute teacher program.

    July 22, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

Must Read


A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter