Officials to ban fireworks in Lancaster ahead of July 4th weekend

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LANCASTER, Pa. -- Fireworks are now legal in the state of Pennsylvania, but that may soon be changing in the City of Lancaster.

"We have a lot of ordinary wood construction and when you're dealing with fireworks and lighting them off, a lot of people don't realize that fire wood could be on a roof top, it could be smoldering for hours and you don't know it until a fire appears," said Chief Scott Little, Lancaster Bureau of Fire.

Chief Scott Little with Lancaster Bureau of Fire says there have been some issues with people lighting fireworks in the city, which is why he and Mayor Danene Sorace, are looking to pass an ordinance next week that would ban them.

"We're a hight density population, so a lot of people," said Chief Little. "It's the consumer grade that we're concerned about when you're shooting bottle rockets into the sky, it could land on someones house," he added.

Little says they are trying to align with the new state law, which prohibits fireworks from being set off within 150 feet of a house or structure.

The ban would include the following: Bottle Rockets, Rocket Launchers, Repeaters, Roman Candles, Artillery Shells, Artificial Satellites and Skyrockets, leaving some residents in the 'Red Rose City' upset.

"It's just not fair, I mean they sell it everywhere, it's just bottle rockets and there are buildings everywhere, nothing ever gets damaged," said Veronica Cruz, Lancaster resident. "We're not setting off M-80`s you know, they are little kid ones," she added.

The ordinance prohibits fireworks from being set off on streets and parks, something Lancaster resident, Jim Mccutchuon, who has a special needs son, says he can get on board with.

"How do you calm down a seven or even a five year old who has autism in the middle of the night because somebody set something off down the street, or two blocks away because it echoed through the town,?"said Mccutchuon.

Under the state law, if you do set off any of these banned fireworks, you could be looking at up to $100 in fines.

"It's been fourth of July since May in city so I don't think it's really going to matter, I think it's going to be really hard to catch them when they go off because it's tight quarters and by the time that they go off and people call, how do you catch them,?" said Emily Horner, Lancaster resident.

"There are accidents that occur with fireworks and really we should be letting it up to the professionals to set off the fire works shows and for us to enjoy them," said Chief Little.

The ordinance is expected to go into effect Tuesday, June 26, once Lancaster City Council takes a vote, however Chief Little tells FOX43, in a preliminary vote two weeks ago, the council all agreed on the changes.

The city of York is also looking to do the same. In a post earlier this month, York Mayor, Michael Helfrich said quote -- "You'll be seeing more from us on this soon, but for now just replace "City of Lancaster" with "City of York". Remember: Just because you can now legally buy those 'big' fireworks, doesn't mean that you can legally use them in the City of York."

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