Reports: A few fireworks complaints; no citations or injuries in Richmond County

By: By William R. Toler - Editor

Richmond County sounded like a war zone Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Hours after the official shows ended in Ellerbe and Hamlet, fireworks could still be heard.

The noises ranged from snaps, crackles and pops to shrieking whistles to booming concussions, sounding past 3 a.m. — when most people are trying to get a little shuteye.

Fireworks that explode or leave the ground are illegal in North Carolina, including Roman candles, bottle rockets or other aerial fireworks.

But that doesn’t stop folks from driving across the border to South Carolina and coming back with a cache.

Capt. Marc Terry of the Hamlet Police Department said there were several complaints called in but no citations were issued, calling it a “very peaceful night.”

“It’s just one of those things, on the Fourth of July, it’s going to happen,” he said.

Terry said fireworks citations are tough to issue because by the time officers arrive to investigate, offenders have already shot their load.

“It would be enforced if we could get there,” he said. “(But) unless you drive up and they’ve got the match lit” to the fuse, there’s not much officers can do.

At the time, Terry had been driving around for six hours looking for one of the department’s K-9s, Rudy. (See page X)

Several other county residents posted on Facebook that their pets had run off after being spooked by fireworks.

The Rockingham Police Department reported that no injuries had been reported and no one was cited for infractions. The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office could not be reached Thursday.

Two men in South Carolina were not so fortunate.

WSOC-TV reports than one man was killed and another seriously injured while shooting off fireworks at the Dizzy Gillespie Apartments in Cheraw.

M.C. Gaillion III died after a mortar shell exploded in his hands and hit him in the chest during a fireworks “war,” the station reports.

Earlier in the night, Cheraw police say another man in the group lost part of his hand, according to WSOC.

Police were reportedly called to the complex three times Wednesday night.

Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 or [email protected]

By William R. Toler