Tom Templin, a retired firefighter and Muskego resident, told the city's finance committee Tuesday that its current fireworks ordinance is "foolhardy" and that the city needed a "wakeup call" because he believes no fireworks should be allowed in the city.
Initially, Templin appeared to ask the committee to rescind the fireworks application of neighbors Randall Bruch and Jason Geiger. The area where they live, which is situated off of Hillendale and Field Drive, is fairly wooded, with a wetland area that has been dry given the lack of rain, and that had Templin concerned.
"Did you see the brush fire in Burlington, which burned about 80 acres? They had great difficulty getting to it. They had to get on ATVs just to find the area," he said. "This is the type of area we're talking about — it's not an area you sould be playing with fire at all — it's a tinderbox there."
Mayor Kathy Chiaverotti said the decision had not been made yet as to whether the city would initiate a burning or fireworks ban, but was "considering it along with the assistance of the fire chief."
However, the committee stressed that once a permit was approved, unless there were any violations or complaints existing, it could not legally be revoked. That's not the response Templin was looking for.
"The city of Muskego should take a long, hard look at its ordinance because it makes no common sense. I don't know why there are any fireworks allowed in this city, as many others don't allow it," he argued.
Alderman Dan Soltysiak explained the current ordinance already does address issues of wind speed and direction, the need for firefighting equipment and supervision, and that "there's nothing that allows us to be proactive in preventing a violation. We can't refuse a permit based on something that might happen."
He added: "it's important as well for everyone taking out a permit to know they are responsible for anything that can happen."
Templin was told that going forward further amendments to the ordinance could help to tighten up the restrictions in the ordinance, but no immediate change could be made.
It may have been a small consolation, as Templin's wife Linda explained that she "was on edge and nervous the last Fourth of July, hearing the fireworks go off and knew that there would be no way the (Fire Department) could get to it in time."
Templin told the committee that he would take the opportunity to address the ordinance for the coming year, but in the meantime he "would not be going to any fireworks on the 3rd or 4th of July. I'll be staying home with a garden hose."