With the Independence Day holiday weekend approaching, the city of Wheeling’s fire and police departments are reminding residents and visitors not to use or ignite illegal types of fireworks within city limits.
City ordinance 1535.01, enacted in 1981, forbids the usage of any firework that propels into the air that is combustible or explosive, flammable or audible. This includes bottle & skyrockets, roman candles, and sky lanterns.
The ordinance does allow the use of certain fireworks within city limits for those wishing to celebrate the holiday. They include sparklers, fountains, party poppers, snaps, smoke devices, and various non-propellant noisemakers.
Although multiple types of fireworks can be purchased following a change in West Virginia state law in 2016, they are still not permitted to be used within the city of Wheeling.
Last year, a change to city ordinance noted anyone who discharges illegal fireworks can face a $500 fine and the seizure of the materials. Wheeling Police will not be looking for people who are buying fireworks or transporting them in the city, rather shifting their attention and enforcement efforts on illegal discharging.
The fireworks ordinance was put in place more than 40 years ago to prevent the destruction of property from fire and reducing serious injuries. The first part of July is known to be hot and potentially dry, a perfect ingredient for outside fires.
Should anyone be using legal fireworks, the Wheeling Fire Department suggest that a water source, whether it be a hose, or a bucket of water be nearby for safety.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), 44% of injuries related to fireworks are burns to hands or fingers. More than a quarter of fires started by fireworks in the nation occur during the Independence Day holiday.
The full city ordinance can be read online at wheelingwv.gov/fireworks.