CEDAR FALLS, Iowa — Officials of two cities in northeastern Iowa are struggling to establish fireworks policies amid calls for increased restrictions after a noisy Fourth of July.

The Cedar Falls City Council on Monday voted against drafting an ordinance to ban fireworks and sent the matter back to committee for more discussion.

Some residents expressed concern about the noise and debris fireworks leave, while others said restricting them is unnecessary.

Steve Wikert, a local educator and Vietnam veteran, said he dropped to the ground after hearing fireworks set off near his home.

“I honest to God felt like I was back in Vietnam,” he said. “Fireworks are dangerous to our citizens, psychologically hurtful to our veterans and just an incredible annoyance to many others, including pets.”

But another local veteran and businessman Greg Saul said everyone should be free to discharge fireworks.

“I can jump more from a lighting strike than fireworks,” Saul said. “I support fireworks, and I think 80 percent of the veterans do. Let freedom ring, and let Cedar Falls celebrate, like most of the rest of the country, the Fourth of July.”

The Waterloo City Council Public Safety Subcommittee narrowly endorsed a proposal to limit fireworks usage from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on July 4, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported . The ordinance still needs to go before the full council for a vote.

Waterloo Police Department Chief Dan Trelka says he hopes cities in the area take similar approaches to regulating fireworks.

“I would like to see continuity between Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Evansdale; that would certainly aid in enforcement,” he said.

This year was the first time in 80 years that the sale and use of fireworks was permitted in the state. Residents can set off fireworks on private property from June 1 through July 8 and from Dec. 10 through Jan. 3, but cities can adopt more restrictive approaches.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com