With the Independence Day holiday weekend less than a week away, 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.
Wheeling 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 and 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. Permitted fireworks 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.
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 but focusing their attention and enforcement efforts on illegal discharging.
The fireworks ordinance was put in place to safeguard homes and businesses from catching fire and reducing serious injuries. Weather conditions for the first part of July are known to be very dry and hot, a perfect ingredient for outside fires.
Should anyone use legal fireworks, the Wheeling Fire Department highly recommends 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.