A veteran Lockport police officer who runs a fireworks business on the side is the subject of an internal investigation after staging a fireworks show in a residential neighborhood Friday night.
Alderwoman Constance M. Beccue, R-3rd Ward, said, "(Police Chief Neil B.) Merritt is heading up an investigation himself, and he expects to do most of it today and Tuesday."
He would be investigating Capt. John Cross, who shot off the fireworks display at a 30th anniversary reunion for Lockport High School's Class of 1969.
Mrs. Beccue said, "We're trying to make sure everything is done according to the letter of the law, so if anything is done (to Cross), it will stick."
Cross and Merritt could not be reached to comment Sunday.
The host of the party, Jeffrey G. Harmon of Pine Street, said Cross was one of his classmates. He said Cross' company, Pyrotechnico, was not hired for the occasion. Pyrotechnico has provided the city's official Fourth of July fireworks display for the past several years.
Mayor Kenneth D. Swan said he is uncertain whether any laws were violated by Friday's display, which some witnesses said was comparable to an Independence Day show. Calvin D. Stoddard of Berkeley Drive said, "They even had a grand finale at the end."
Swan, who said he received about 30 calls from residents, said city officials will be researching the legalities today.
Harmon said the trouble the display caused in the neighborhood was unforeseen.
"I've got 2 1/2 acres," he said, adding that the display lasted about five minutes, and 15 or 16 shells were fired.
Mrs. Beccue said the incident "was very arrogant and it was very ignorant."
She said that several residents reported damage to their property. Stoddard said falling embers burned through the roof of his garage and burned holes into the seats of a 21 1/2 -foot boat stored there.
Harmon said, "There was sure no intent to cause this commotion. We're disappointed that this happened. We moved back here last year and we love the city and we love living here. We apologize."
Harmon said Cross checked the city ordinances with City Clerk Richard P. Mullaney. Mullaney said Cross visited his office a couple of weeks ago and asked if a permit was needed for the fireworks show. Mullaney said he told Cross the city never has issued a fireworks permit, even for the Fourth of July, and no city laws seem to call for one.