Backyard Fireworks: What’s Legal, What’s Not

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The downtown Fourth of July fireworks can’t be beaten.

Still, you might be tempted by fireworks tents to have your own backyard display, but don’t expect explosive devises or pyrotechnic displays.

“Our inspectors have gone out and inspected the tents. So far the products have been legal,” Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones said.

Pennsylvania permits only the use or sale of items defined as “ground and hand-held sparkling devices,” “novelties” and “toy caps.” So it’s not legal to sell or ignite products like M-80s that explode or Roman candles and bottle rockets that shoot projectiles in the air.

So the tents sell sparkly, non-explosive devises.

“Nothing that can explode and nothing that flies in the air,” Jones said. “So no bottle rockets or anything that goes airborne is legal. Anything that can explode is illegal.”

Since Friday, the Pittsburgh fireworks task force has confiscated some 30 pounds of illegal explosives and fireworks, and they’ll be out all week. Chief Jones says getting caught can get expensive.

“I want to remind those out there who are using illegal fireworks that fines start off at $1,000,” Jones said, “so if you want to have some fun I suggest you come downtown tomorrow.”

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