Fireworks are legal in South Carolina but a group of homeowners in an unincorporated area of Georgetown County say people shooting them at night is now a nuisance. It's to the point they're now moving to make their neighborhood a fireworks prohibited zone.
"The fireworks start at about 9 o'clock and they go on every night. All night. I've come out here at 1:30. I've come out here at 5 am asking persons to please stop," explained Karen Cline. She's lived on the oceanfront of North Litchfield Beach for the last ten years.
After two years of dealing with what she calls a growing problem, Cline has gotten several of her neighbors to sign forms to make their private properties a firework free zone. They also want to have it extended to the beach which is public property. That portion requires County Council approval.
Along with the noise complaint , Cline says safety is also a concern.
"The fireworks are not what they were , you know , even ten years ago. They're louder, they're bigger, they're more advanced and when the wind blows back from the ocean , the fireworks blow back into the dunes. I've stopped several fires," said Cline. "We have children here in this neighborhood and it's hard for them to get up and go to school and take state testing when fireworks going every night all night and it really does sound like a war zone. Every night here."
Cline suspects the increase in fireworks is also scaring away wildlife .
"I've only seen one turtles nest this year when I have seen four and five in front of our house in past years. I don't know if the fireworks have anything to do with that. The fireworks do scare the pets, the pets have to actually wear thunder jackets."
She added litter is also a problem, "It's been a beautiful beach for a long time but now it's becoming trashed with leftover fire shells and burnt logs from bonfires."
Cline and her neighbors aren't the only ones complaining. Councilman Jerry Oakley said he's gotten word from a significant amount of homeowners, "I've heard more complaints about fireworks this year than I ever have."
At tomorrow's County Council meeting there will be a public hearing. Then council will decide whether or not to approve their petition to extend the fireworks prohibited zone to the beach. If they do, that will allow the sheriff's office to enforce it and the homeowners are required to post signs letting people know fireworks are not allowed.
Other areas of Georgetown have also done the same thing with positive results.
If you'd like to make your private property a firework prohibited zone , contact your county office.