Fire Marshal plans to confiscate Apple Valley Town Council fireworks

APPLE VALLEY — The Apple Valley Town Council is facing possible disciplinary action after its members traveled across state lines to purchase illegal fireworks with city donations.

In past years, the Apple Valley Fire Department organized the annual Independence Day Fireworks Show, and each year, Apple Valley Fire Chief David Zolg, Jr., would submit designated area maps ahead of the event. Zolg said this year the town council announced during a meeting that it would be organizing the fireworks show.

“They came through and tried to take a fire department event and tried to turn it into their election party,” Zolg said. “After that I stepped away from it.”

Apple Valley Mayor Marty Lisonbee said the town council received donations to purchase fireworks for the show, and members of the council traveled to Moapa, Nevada, to retrieve them. He said the council purchased the fireworks with donations from a resident “as a charity to the town” and that the process was “under the supervision of the fire department.”

Lisonbee said the fire chief has organized the event for several years, and in that time Zolg would go to Moapa to purchase fireworks. The town council was “doing what he’s been doing,” and Zolg was made aware of the council’s plans beforehand, Lisonbee said. 

A picture of the Apple Valley Fire Department discharging fireworks during the 2018 fireworks show in Apple Valley, Utah, on July 4, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Apple Valley Mayor Marty Lisonbee, St. George News

“These people that put some money together to do this, they were doing what they saw happen in the past, not knowing it was illegal,” Lisonbee said.

Furthermore, the mayor said, Zolg’s father was the one to pay for fireworks during past events hosted by the fire department. Buying fireworks in Moapa “has probably always been illegal,” Lisonbee said, but the town council “didn’t have a problem with it” because the fire chief was overseeing the purchasing of the fireworks and the organization of the event. From his knowledge, he said the fire department has probably broken the law in previous years.

Zolg said this is simply not true. For past shows, residents of Apple Valley would donate fireworks and no fireworks were ever personally purchased by the fire department.

“No fireworks have ever crossed state lines to be in any fire department event ever,” Zolg said.

It is illegal to purchase or set off class “C” fireworks outside of the Utah designated sales and discharge dates. This year, the Utah Department of Public Safety announced that class “C” fireworks could be sold from June 24-July 25 and class “C” fireworks could be discharged from July 2-5, July 22-25, Dec. 31 and on the eve of the Chinese New Year.

Individuals who discharge fireworks outside of the designated areas or dates could receive a $1,000 fine.

Zolg said he has been in contact with the Fire Marshal regarding the situation, and the state attorney has been notified of the situation. Lisonbee said it is his understanding that the Fire Marshal and state attorney simply want the fireworks out of Utah.

“We’re going to comply,” he said. “No big deal.”

The Fire Marshal is traveling to Apple Valley Thursday to confiscate the council’s fireworks.

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Twitter: @STGnews | @AvereeRyann 

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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