New rules make fireworks more accessible to PA residents

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YORK, P.A. --- In years past, shooting off fireworks in Pennsylvania required a commercial permit.

Now, anyone age 18 and older with a valid ID can purchase the full-line of products available, including firecrackers, mortars, repeaters, aerial items, and roman candles.

The changes comes after new Pennsylvania legislation passed at the end of October.

Brian Bush, assistant manager at Phantom Fireworks in Shrewsbury, said last Friday, they received their license to comply with the new regulations.

He said its primary customers have always been from out of state so they hope to bring in commonwealth customers who, previously, left empty-handed.

"We've had so many people try and come in before, they're kind of limited on things they could buy. Now, being able to offer the full line is exciting," said Bush.

However, not everyone is excited about the changes.

Deputy Chief Chad Deardorff with the York City Fire Department said they would've preferred the legislation not passed.

"There's a reason, for years, they left the commercial fireworks, per se, to the professionals," said Deardorff.

He said they've dealt with fires which were sparked by products that were previously illegal in Pennsylvania.

Despite the new relaxed laws on purchasing fireworks, he also said usage rules remain in place, such as needing 100 feet of open space per inch of the firework.

"You're not going to go right down the middle of the square on Market Street and fire off a three inch shell without repercussions for that," said Deardorff.

While admitted the department doesn't want to be "debby-downers" for first time users, he recommended following the safety instructions provided with the fireworks to avoid starting the new year with a fire or injury.

"Be away from people, be away from properties, anything that can burn. Be smart about it and educate yourself on it," said Deardorff.