Save Fireworks for the Pros, It’s Still Illegal to Fire Them Off in PA

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HAZLETON -- The higher fireworks go into the air, the more illegal they are in Pennsylvania.

Over the past two weeks, Hazleton City Police Department has received a number of phone calls from people mistaking fireworks for gunshots.

Police Chief Jerry Speziale says firing off fireworks anywhere in the Keystone State is not worth the risk of getting caught.

“You hear about people losing their fingers, losing limbs, eyesight, hearing. It’s dangerous so I would ask people to refrain, people from having their own illegal fireworks show,” said Chief Jerry Speziale.

Setting off fireworks without a proper permit is illegal across Pennsylvania. Only hand-held sparklers are allowed to be used by Pennsylvania residents.

This is frustrating for those who want to celebrate the Fourth of July with a bang.

“Companies are in our state and we can't buy a lot of the fireworks that we want to get. People can come from out of state,(and) buy the fireworks that are in our state” said Brian Shea of York County.

Fireworks Warehouse is open year around, and owner John Boyle says his business depends on people coming from out of state and making big purchases.

“We try to get people off the interstate, and we got a lot of local people, too. They buy a lot of the smaller stuff for the kids,” said Boyle.

If you are trying to light up the night sky without a permit, police say sparklers should do the trick.

“If you are looking to buy the simple things that are legal and within the law, nobody is going to bother you. Why would you want to face a serious fine or possible jail? It is not worth it,” said Speziale


  • Keystone Kops

    Are the police not aware that the law was changed years ago and people can get licenses to fire the big stuff?

    This is 2017, not 1997.

    Busting a kid for a smoke bomb is a good idea Det.Drebin.

  • Carl Bahm

    Losing finger and limbs? One out of every 100,000 people who fire off fireworks are injured!! due to their own stupidity!! You have more accidents with a table saw!!! Screw PA GOV!! I’m gonna fire off fireworks in our own back yard and not have to flock to an area of over 10,000 people and then wait an hour to get my car out of it’s spot to go home. I WILL enjoy them with my family without all the BS! Pretty stupid that PA isn’t enjoying the taxes collected on items that WILL be bought (out of state) and enjoyed in PA. You can sell them in PA but PA residents can’t buy them?? You’re stupid!

  • Cheese

    I knew a guy that tried fireworks ONCE and now he thinks he’s a glass of orange juice. Thank you WNEP for spreading awareness about these “celebratory” devils of danger.

  • Pat Ma-groin

    I cant shoot off fireworks in PA but I can smoke the marijuana for my headaches. What a sad state. backward laws. corrupt politicians. drain the Harrisburg swamp.

    • D


      This is the most loosely enforced law in the state. Good luck getting help when ignorant neighbors are blasting away all night long.

  • Johsua

    There’s hundreds of illegal fireworks being shot off each year from people’s yards. Police only have but to drive around and look and listen for themselves. But you know what? They rarely enforce the law in regards to them, which is why it’s so rampant, so articles like this are worthless, especially a few days before the 4th, when most people have already purchased them.

    • D


      This is the most loosely enforced law in the state. Good luck getting help when ignorant neighbors are blasting away all night long.

  • Funny

    I think it is comical that you can “buy” a “permit” to have a “organized” firework shoot off, in flipping bumble flip township, and buy them in moosic.

    Pretty much sums up how this area works. Wink wink.

  • Larry Stokes

    All fireworks should be made illegal. They are a waste of money and a potential danger. Get rid of all them.


    I am glad they are illegal. In my hometown of Frackville you got drunk individuals lighting m80s off with reckless abandon. Its very dangerous out there walking the back alleys in the coal region when you got drunken people lighting of illegal fireworks.

    • Allen

      M-80’s aren’t fireworks… They’re illegal high explosives and can’t be bought anywhere except some skeezy guys garage or car trunk. Fireworks stores don’t sell them… Not even to out of state folks!

      • commentswithabrain

        They’re not even close to HE; M80’s are around 3 grams of black powder while high explosives are things like RDX, PETN, or TATB. Thank God for that too. If people were able to throw sticks of C4 around July would have a lot more accidents than it does now.

  • Joe

    In response to this article… The PA fireworks law is completely confusing and rediculous. First of all, I served in a volunteer fire department for over 20 years and the number of fire calls caused by fireworks was ONE… I also worked for a paramedic company and hospital emergency room and the number of injuries caused by fireworks was ONE… The firework: a sparkler!.. BUT the State of Pennsylvania considers this a visual “novelty” NOT a firework. With respect to the chief, the numbers are tremendously overblown . People who lose fingers, limbs and hearing are NOT using what is considered “Consumer Fireworks” which are commonly bought by out of state residents. The so M-80s, quarter sticks, block busters, silver salutes and cherry bombs have been federally illegal since 1966. They are illegal EXPLOSIVES and cannot be purchased at ANY area fireworks store! The powder limit for a legal firecracker is 52 mg. That is a far cry from the 3000+ mg of the old M-80s. The problem here is that the public needs to be educated and not fear mongered about these devices. Ground work novelty fountains contain whistles, bangs and tons of crackling which probably account for 90% of complaint calls. Area firework store products are strictly tested and regulated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Even buying the “out of state” fireworks, you would be hard pressed and purposely try to blow even your pinky off. The devices are just too weak. Please research the differences between consumer and display fireworks before making statements without facts. And for those of you wondering, I’m a PGI Certified professional shooter of commercial grade display fireworks. As much as I like to have a big audience, I see NO issues with the consumer grade back yard fireworks out of staters can buy so long as the purchaser is over 18… I’d just like to see PA lawmakers finally fix what I consider a very silly and unnecessary law.

    • Allen

      No problem Joe… If they won’t let ya buy ’em, you can always go to the local gun shop and pick up a revolver with six rounds of ammo to make some bangs with a lot less hassle.

  • TiredOfTheNoise

    So, who do we call to reports the lawbreakers? Local police if we have them or State Police if not?

    • notacitydweller

      That would have made the story more useful. The fireworks drive my dog crazy. I wonder if the bill the Gov. Wolf just signed would apply here? The illegal fireworks tormenting dogs?

    • commentswithabrain

      You deal with it for a couple days or go to the middle of nowhere and ride out half of July there.

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