NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - A North Myrtle Beach mother says she’s sick and tired of hearing fireworks outside her home.
For that reason, she supports the city’s decision to enforce harsher penalties for those who refuse to abide by the no fireworks rules.
Kristina Spillane and her 9-year-old son Wyatt live in the city limits of North Myrtle Beach.
She said the tougher penalties are needed because some people clearly aren’t listening when it comes to fireworks.
“We hear them a lot,” Spillane said. “At least three times a week and it keeps us up at night, especially on school nights.”
Kristina and Wyatt are feeling a bit more comfortable about the noises possibly coming to an end, because of the city enforcing new penalties.
“Much better,” she said.
The discharging of fireworks is illegal within the city limits of North Myrtle Beach, but that hasn’t stopped people from setting them off.
In an effort to prevent it, city leaders are now enforcing harsher penalties.
City spokesperson Pat Dowling said the first offense will result in a ticket costing up to $500.
The second offense will result in a custodial arrest, which means a trip straight to jail.
“People are mad,” said Dowling. “They can’t sleep, it’s in the middle of the night. It can start at four in the afternoon until early mornings. There’s really no reason for that because fireworks are illegal to set off in North Myrtle Beach and you can’t buy them in the city. There are some stores that look like they’re in North Myrtle Beach but they’re actually in the county jurisdiction and not the city’s jurisdiction. We have a lot of people here that work and they need their sleep.”
Dowling also said that over the last three years, they’ve seen a disturbing trend in noise complaints stemming from people discharging fireworks.
In 2018, the city received 330 complaints and slightly more in 2019.
In 2020, however, the city received double those amounts. A total of 1,041 complaints stemming from fireworks being set off.
As of April 7, they’ve had 71 complaints so far this year.
Dowling says some families contacted the city because fireworks keep not only their family members from sleeping, but the noise also disturbs and frightens their pets.
“That wakes up the owners and their families, then the owners and the families wake us up,” Dowling said.
He says the city tried to issue tickets as a last resort, but it’s not working.
Dowling said he hopes the second offense jail time will send a clear message: don’t discharge fireworks in the city.
“We have so many police personnel and they have to chase down other things [other] than noise complaints,” he said. “If you’re going to make us go chase you down for a noise complaint, we’re going to make sure you get rewarded with a ticket. If we have to go back and approach you for the same thing, we’re taking you to jail. That way we’ll know we’ll have some peace and quiet from you for the rest of the night.”
Kristina and Wyatt support the city’s new efforts and hope to receive more sleepful nights in the near future.
“It’s not fair to the residents who live here year-round,” she said. “It’s disturbing our peace.”