Woodward Township resident complains about fireworks
WOODWARD — Fireworks are causing a disturbance in Woodward Township.
That was the message from township resident Robert Ankney, who spoke during the public comment period at Tuesday’s supervisors meeting.
“Fireworks are getting set off beside houses. We have no police coverage at night on the weekends. I called the communications center and the state police do not want to do a darn thing about it. We need police coverage at night on the weekends and something needs to be done,” Ankney said.
Woodward Township Police Chief Stephen Falotico said the township police are aware of the situation and have received several complaints about the fireworks.
“We are aware of the issue as three or four people talked to me. Last night we spoke to several people and we are getting a hold of the gentleman responsible,” Falotico assured.
Despite the assurance, Ankney was not happy.
“Well I can tell you who it was … it is constant and I am finding pieces of fireworks in my backyard. State police should be able to come over and do something about it and you guys are saying they no longer are. Why do you not have police coverage on a busy weekend?” he continued. Falotico said the township police are short-handed for the time being.
“How come you have police coverage during the day when not much goes on, but yet Friday and Saturday nights, this is going on? This has been going on constantly and nothing is being done about it,” Ankney continued.
Falotico assured him that many of the reasons for which coverage has been light as of late are due to other endeavors. He said that many of the officers are caught up in court-related issues and/or are tackling ongoing investigations, on top of already being short staffed.
Falotico said Ankney is not the only one upset with the state police involving an issue like firework complaints. However, according to Falotico, the state police do not respond to noise complaints.
The board asked if there was a designated ordinance for fireworks within the township. Falotico said there is, but it’s a state act.
“We have a state act. The state opened up a can of worms when they allowed fireworks to be used but there are certain stipulations — you can not shoot them at a house, you can not be drunk, and you can not be within 150 feet of occupied structures,” he explained.
According to Ankney, the culprit is breaking all of the above.
“These are big fireworks and they are rattling my house when they go off. They are constant and I know there is alcohol and other stuff involved,” he said.
Supervisor Kyle Coleman affirmed that with the fireworks being set off within 150 feet of an occupied building, it would be against the township’s ordinance.
“I actually got several phone calls about the fireworks that night. One guy had walked down and sent me videos of it and they were like fireworks that we set off for Riverfest. They are setting them off in their driveway. Thankfully, it was not very dry out or it could have set someone’s house on fire. I know the neighbor next door and he has burn marks on his deck from stuff landing there,” he related.
Falotico suggested that township residents call state policed at Montoursville as the township falls under their jurisdiction. He also assured that there should be more coverage in the next few weeks as they just recently hired two new officers and will investigate the issue as quickly as possible.