JAMESTOWN – Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings said that his department has responded to 31 fireworks complaints throughout the City in June.
In a release Thursday, Snellings reminded the community that the possession and use of fireworks is illegal in New York State. Section 270.00 of the New York State Penal Law (unlawfully dealing with fireworks and dangerous fireworks) covers the offenses and potential charges that range from a violation up to a Class A misdemeanor.
Recent changes in the New York State law have allowed the sale and possession of sparkling devices in designated counties. They are legal to possess and use within Chautauqua County and the City of Jamestown.
Under section 270.00, sparkling devices are defined as devices that are ground-based or hand-held devices that produce a shower of white, gold, or colored sparks as their primary pyrotechnic effect. Additional effects may include a.colored flame, an audible crackling effect, an audible whistle effect, and smoke. These devices do not rise into the air, do not fire inserts or projectiles into the air, and do not explode or produce a report (an audible crackling-type effect is not considered to be a report). Ground-based or hand-held devices that produce a cloud of smoke as their sole pyrotechnic effect are also included in this category.
The use of any firework creates both a fire and safety hazard. According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires per year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside and other fires. These fires caused an average of three deaths, 40 civilian injuries, and an average of $43 million in direct property damage. In 2017, U.S. hospital emergency rooms treated an estimated 12,900 people for fireworks related injuries, one quarter of those injuries were related to the use of sparklers.
Snellings encouraged the community to enjoy the several professional firework shows that are available throughout the county during the 4th.