As the Independence Day holiday approaches, the city of Wheeling’s police and fire departments are reminding residents and visitors not to use or ignite illegal types of fireworks within city limits.
City ordinance 1535.01, enacted in 1981, prohibits 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. They 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.
“Each year, especially the first week of July, the Wheeling Police Department becomes inundated with fireworks complaints. Thanks to city council’s recent amendment to the fireworks code, anyone who discharges illegal fireworks can face a $500 fine and the seizure of the materials. We are asking everyone to be courteous of others and not ignite these,” said Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger.
The police chief noted that officers will not be looking for people who are buying fireworks or transporting them in the city. All attention and enforcement efforts will be focused on discharging.
Fire Chief Jim Blazier added that fireworks are known to cause fire and serious injury this time of year. “Typically, the days before and around the July 4 holiday are known to be hot and dry. The fireworks ordinance was put in place more than 40 years ago to prevent the destruction of property from fire and reducing serious injuries. We ask everyone to keep their neighbors, pets and friends in mind and to play it safe, even with legal fireworks.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, 44-percent 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 below