New Ordinance Could Make Aerial Fireworks in Wilkes-Barre a Thing of The Past

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Last week was the first Fourth of July people were able to legally set off consumer-grade aerial fireworks in Pennsylvania.

However, folks in Wilkes-Barre said some people were not following the law and setting them off too close to other people’s homes.

Officials in Wilkes-Barre are so concerned about this problem that they’ve proposed a new ordinance to city council that could make setting off aerial fireworks a thing of the past.

All those loud noises were no good for Samantha Nice’s dogs in the south side of the city.

"I wish I could've gone to these people's houses and said, 'Here. Do you want to deal with my dog for a couple of hours while you're doing these fireworks?' Because she will do it for like five hours. She won't go to bed until like 2, until everything is quiet in the house,” Nice said.

It’s because of complaints like that and other serious safety concerns that fire chief and emergency management coordinator Jay Delaney introduced an aerial firework ordinance to city council. It would effectively make aerial fireworks illegal to light off in the city limits.

“Our emergency responders, not just in Wilkes-Barre but across the state, have seen first-hand the trauma, the burn injury, and the fires,” Chief Delaney said.

People who live in the south section of Wilkes-Barre said they think an ordinance that's tougher on aerial fireworks is a good idea.

“There's trees everywhere. There's powerlines. There's houses close. What happens if you accidentally mess up? You could be affecting someone's family and property,” Nice said.

"It's dangerous! People's houses could catch on fire and stuff,” Wilkes-Barre resident George Haskell said.

It’s already illegal under state law to set off aerial fireworks within 150 feet of an occupied structure. If the new ordinance gets approved, it would make it illegal to light off fireworks on city-owned properties too, like parks and sidewalks.

All of this will be brought up in a city council meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.

“This Fourth of July seems to have been worse than ever, I think because of the availability of the commercial fireworks so they are coming to express their concerns about it. They're tired of it and they want it to stop,” Councilman Bill Barrett said.

City officials said if the aerial firework ordinance is passed by council, it will be made into law next month.

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