Are fireworks legal in your neighborhood? Check the rules before striking that match

Jim Melwert
July 01, 2019 - 1:31 pm

Christopher Downey/Getty Images

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ABINGTON, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — While certain fireworks are legal in Pennsylvania, that doesn’t mean they’re legal everywhere.

Pennsylvania’s new fireworks law went into effect last year, allowing residents to buy and set off class-C — or consumer grade — fireworks like bottle rockets and firecrackers, with some restrictions.

One of those restrictions: You can’t set them off within 150 feet of an occupied structure.

“In Abington, I think 95% of our community would fall into that category,” said Abington Township Police Chief Patrick Malloy.

The restriction is due to a combination of public safety and courtesy to neighbors.

“We’re sensitive to the fact there are many homeowners with young children or pets that are disturbed by the incessant fireworks being set off, especially into the early morning hours,” he added.

“We have residents who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder and other things, where it becomes unreasonable — the number of fireworks that are being set off and the hour. It just disturbs the peace.” 

Malloy said his officers are busy with other issues, but if they have to, they will write citations, which carry a $100 fine.

Different towns have different rules, so if you’re thinking about setting off fireworks, check with officials where you live, as police say ignorance is not a defense.

Collegeville’s ordinance, for example, states no fireworks of any kind are allowed within 250 feet of any building. 

“There’s really no space within Collegeville Borough that would allow you to have 250-foot radius from any building," noted Collegeville Borough Police Officer Matt Cubbler, "therefore it’s not allowed in Collegeville.”

The Pennsylvania Office of the State Fire Commissioner cites statistics that say nationwide, there were eight deaths and almost 13,000 emergency room visits because of non-professional fireworks. 

Malloy's advice: Leave it to the pros.