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Murrells Inlet: Neighbors’ red glare greets fireworks show

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Arnold White of Murrells Inlet said he was awakened by loud noise Monday night and called the sheriff’s office to report a disturbance of the peace.

He thought youngsters were shooting fireworks in his neighborhood. “Shenanigans,” he called the nighttime disturbance.

White was dismayed when an officer told him the fireworks were permitted and would go on for nine more weeks this summer as a Marsh Walk promotion by six creekfront restaurants.

“I call it disturbing the peace,” White said. “There’s a hospital just a half-mile away. This is seriously obnoxious.”

The 10-minute fireworks shows are being produced by Zambelli Fireworks and launched from the end of the Veterans Pier. Restaurateurs believe the pyrotechnics will help promote the marshfront boardwalk, which was created through a partnership with Georgetown County. The concept is similar to Tuesday’s fireworks show at Broadway at the Beach, a complex in Myrtle Beach. Monday was picked for the Marsh Walk show because it is traditionally a slow night for the restaurants.

Fireworks on July 4 have become synonymous with Murrells Inlet 2020, and the phone began ringing early Tuesday from callers complaining about the noise and the litter left on the pier Monday night.

“A lot of residents were very upset,” said Sue Sledz, Murrells Inlet 2020 executive director.

She explained to callers that her organization was not responsible for the Monday fireworks nor had it endorsed the 10-week plan. She referred callers to Georgetown County Council Member Jerry Oakley because the fireworks are under the jurisdiction of the county fire marshal.

Residents were also complaining about the litter left behind on the pier from the fireworks and the residue falling into the inlet. “The sponsors were made aware of the littler problem on the walkway and pier and my understanding is that they spoke with the fireworks purveyors about cleaning it up,” Sledz said.

Oakley said the county does not issue fireworks permits or have any authority to stop them.

“The real issue is the noise,” Oakley said. “We’ll probably tell them they need to get off the Marshwalk, but that’s about all we can do.”

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