Loveland, June 27, 2012
After each recounting a personal experience with fireworks, Loveland's City Council voted unanimously to enact an
emergency ordinance mimicking the State of Colorado ban on the sale and use of fireworks within city limits.
Loveland's City Council appeared confused over the question of whether Loveland residents could use fireworks
purchased in Loveland in defiance of a ban on all fireworks enacted by both the State of Colorado and Larimer County.
When asked by Loveland Councilman Daryle Klassen whether residents are compelled to follow the county or state
bans inside city limits, Loveland City Attorney John Duval responded "I don't know."
Loveland Fire Chief Randy Mirowski urged passage of the emergency ordinance Tuesday night by explaining the city's
Fire Authority covers not just the 35 square miles of city limits but county areas as well. Mirowski explained the
difficulty for his fire fighters in determining when they pass through county or city areas and which regulations apply
for fireworks when the county regulations differ from the city.
Councilwoman Joan Shaffer shared a story about her family member whose wife ignited their own shingle roof by
using fireworks thus burning the roof. Shaffer described the personal fireworks show as a "tragedy" for the family.
Councilman Ralph Trenary topped that story by confessing he had acted as an arsonist in his youth by starting a
grassland fire with friends. Councilman Fogle told his colleagues his "principle income" came from fireworks sales
from 1976 to 1983. Fogle told the audience "it pains me to do it but I will support the ban."
Fogle even reminisced about a time in the 70's when he attended a Loveland Council meeting sitting in a folding lawn
chair - he brought to the meeting to demonstrate the statistic that more people are injured using folding lawn chairs in a
year than fireworks.
Loveland Mayor Pro Tem Cathleen McEwen told her colleagues that she also had a personal experiences with
fireworks but cautioned them the decision should not be based on personal experiences but instead information
provided to them on the issue before the council.
Mayor "disappointed a whole lot" with emails and one County Commissioner
Mayor Cecil Gutierrez promised a "response" for Larimer County Commissioner Tom Donnelly earlier in the week after
Donnelly suggested it would be "irresponsible" for Loveland to ignore the ban. At the conclusion of Loveland's special
meeting Tuesday night, Gutierrez complained that one Commissioner should have worked with the city before calling
them "irresponsible" for failing to follow the ban. LovelandPolitics contacted Commissioner Donnelly who stated, "I
said it would be irresponsible to not enact a ban. The Board of County Commissioners was reacting to a request by
Loveland's Fire Chief among others so it is unfortunate Cecil misunderstood."
In fact, Commissioner Steve Johnson stated during the same county meeting on June 19, that Loveland was "reckless"
for failing to enact the ban. Gutierrez was on a city paid trip to Seattle while most of his colleagues were on a city paid
trip to Breckenridge that week thus unavailable to take any official actions regarding the ongoing fire safety issues.
Gutierrez reacted to comments by one fireworks vendor who said the city told him he was "good to go" when
receiving his license to begin firework sales in town. Gutierrez pointed out that without a vote of the council changing
the current ordinance allowing fireworks sales, the staff had no choice but to issue permits that week.
Gutierrez also indicated the councilor city paid trips took precedent over passing a fireworks sale ban. He explained,
Colorado's Governor enacted the ban on June 12, while the council's last meeting was June 5. He explained that "better
than half" of the council attended a League of Cities conference last week therefore the regularly scheduled June 19,
meeting was cancelled.
Gutierrez later complained the state and county acted too slowly enacting a ban given the current situation. He stated,
"That is on all of us from the Governor on down and the county commissioners and maybe us as well."
Councilman Klassen inquired earlier in the meeting regarding two sentences he read in the proposed ordinance that
appeared to him to be in conflict. Klassen quoted, "this prohibition shall not apply to the possession or storage of
fireworks." and a later sentence in section 4 of the ordinance, "In addition, the remaining and uncharged fireworks
may be seized in accordance with...."
The City Attorney explained the second sentence uses the word "may" to give officers the discretion to confiscate
fireworks for evidence at trial only for people lighting fireworks.
Fogle Brings Fireworks To Meeting
Councilman Fogle displayed fireworks he purchased from one vendor in Loveland. He explained the worker he bought
them from failed to properly explain the restrictions regarding the use of the fireworks. The owner of that particular
fireworks stand, who was in the audience, was also told by Fogle, "We can no more control the residents of Loveland
than you can control your employees."
Fogle than invited Councilman Klassen to join him in lighting the fireworks once the temporary ban is lifted. Residents
of Loveland will now be unable to buy fireworks in town for later use, as Fogle did, since the emergency ban prohibits
any sales of any fireworks until the ban is lifted.
|Loveland's Independent News Source
|Mayor Capitulates To County
Passes Emergency Fireworks Ban