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June 17, 2014 7:16 am

EDITORIAL: New organization is needed to carry the torch for July 4

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Everyday, we depend on the Powell Volunteer Fire Department to put out fires. On one day each year, we expect them to start some.

On July 4, firefighters faithfully light fireworks that explode in the sky and commemorate Independence Day. It’s a tradition Powell firemen have carried on for decades.

But now it’s time to pass the torch.

Fire Chief Joey Darrah announced last week that this year’s Fourth of July fireworks display will be the last one for the department.

The chief cited a variety of reasons, such as difficulties with fundraising and frustration with audience members who disregard the ban on bringing personal fireworks when they come to the show. We’ve watched fireworks erupt all around the vicinity of the show, and we understand firemen’s concern about audience safety.

Another obvious reason the show poses difficulties: While firemen are busy coordinating an elaborate fireworks display, it leaves the department shorthanded to respond to fire calls.

July 4 holds more potential for fire risks as residents set off fireworks in our dry climate, making it especially important for firemen to be available and ready to respond.

That’s their first priority: to respond to calls, any day of the year.

We can never say enough how thankful we are for the volunteers who serve our community as firemen. They give up holidays, weekends and nights with their families, in addition to rushing away from their day jobs when the sirens sound.

We also appreciate the time and effort volunteer firemen have spent over the decades to ensure Powell enjoyed a quality fireworks display every Fourth of July. The community has come to count on it — even take it for granted.

Like Chief Darrah, we hope that another organization or individuals will step up to plan the show.

With more than a year’s notice, there’s time for another group to raise the funds and prepare for July 4, 2015.

The chief has already pledged that the fire department will gladly provide its expertise for future fireworks displays.

They’ll be standing by — just like every other day of the year.

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