City officials want those planning to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks to watch the professionals shoot them off at an event downtown.
Each year, private use of fireworks causes bodily injury, structure fires and death — even sparklers, which burn at a high heat, according to city Fire Chief Mark Killian.
“Use of consumer-grade fireworks in the city of Williamsport is illegal,” Assistant Police Chief Jason Bolt said Tuesday to City Council’s public safety committee.
“Last year was a war zone,” Councilwoman Bonnie Katz, committee chairwoman, said.
Noise from these explosives frightened pets and disturbed the sleep of those having to get up in the morning to go to work, she said.
State law in 2017 made it legal for consumer-grade fireworks to be purchased. The kits included rockets that shoot skyward.
Fireworks can be used in the city from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekend before July 4 through the following weekend, according to city ordinance.
Fireworks, however, can’t be set off within 150 feet of an occupied structure. Renters also must get permission from their landlords, according to city code.
Police can enforce their use but are limited due to their jobs and calls, Bolt said.
A fine of not more than $600, 90 days in jail or both can be imposed and is upon discretion of the district magistrate judge, he said.
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