Wednesday, February 20, 2019


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            Another Fourth of July holiday has passed and many folks enjoyed the public fireworks displays of professional pyrotechnicians, set off in safe, controlled public areas.

            According to some local officials it wasn't so good for some of the, um, private displays.

            A change in state law last year now allows Pennsylvanians to buy more powerful fireworks.  Prior to that, only items such as sparklers, fountains and novelties were previously available.

            Pennsylvanians are now able to legally purchase and use high-octane Class C or consumer-grade fireworks, including Roman candles, bottle rockets and other explosives with a maximum of 50 mg of explosive material.  However, state law prohibit fireworks from being discharged within 150-feet of an occupied structure.  An important "by-the-way" that many amateur pyro's chose to ignore.

            Class B, the kind normally seen at community celebrations, remain limited to professionals.

            While people were enjoying the public, professional displays there were some who enjoyed a side show or two of private projectile launchings, complete with oohs and ahhs.

             But there were many who were not happy with the private displays and voiced their concerns about pets and military veterans being frightened or traumatized, as well as fear for the safety of homes and innocent people who may be the unintended target of one an errant projectiles.

            In our towns, there are few places that afford the 150-foot buffer needed to legally set-off fireworks.  A story out of neighboring Berks County reported a fireworks rocket that flew through an open window and exploded inside a bedroom where children were playing.  Fortunately no one was hurt, and it didn't start a fire, but it did damage walls and furnishings.

            Even in the outlying areas many folks were spending their Fourth of July monitoring the air-space over their homes for sparks and burning embers.  After the hot, dry spell we experienced just before the holiday, it was good to see Mother Nature supply some of our area with a light rain prior to the fireworks activity.

            But, we can't always count on that can we?

            The bottom line is that the brashness, inconsiderateness, and downright mockery of the law exhibited by a few will now force municipalities to take another look at their ordinances and could result in drastic changes ranging from higher fines for violators and outright fireworks bans.

            For some reason it seems there's a sense of "extreme machoism" associated with the biggest boom and the sparks that travel the farthest.  With the increased noise and danger, you may want to rethink that and consider those you are hurting.

            Don't blame your local officials for the decisions you forced them to make.  Blame those who chose to use the bigger bang to stir up bad memories for veterans, terrify pets, and endanger neighbors.

            Next year, learn how to use and enjoy your fireworks without terrorizing your neighbors.





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