Fireworks: What's Legal?

HAGERSTOWN, MD - The 4th of July is just around the corner and folks are getting excited, and not just because it's a chance to celebrate with friends, family, and food.

You could call fireworks the headliners of Independence Day. Whether you're catching an organized display at a local park or you're looking to brighten up a backyard picnic, fireworks are always a part of the July 4th activities.

"Most come in and say 'do you have the real stuff?'" says Terry Shade, manager of Fireworks Tent.

By "real stuff" they mean illegal fireworks, which fly, move or explode. They come in all shapes and sizes, but you can differentiate between fireworks that are legal or illegal.

"Legal fireworks are labeled 'showers with sparks,'" says Douglas Dehaven, Hagerstown Fire Marshal.

Bottle rockets are illegal in Maryland, and if you're caught with them, it can result in a criminal charge and fines.  They're not only illegal, they're dangerous.

"Last year alone, four house fires were reported due to fireworks," says Dehaven.

Also last year, more than 2,000 pieces of illegal fireworks were collected in Washington County, and in other years the fire department has collected as many as 10,000 of them. If you want to buy fireworks for your family and friends to enjoy safely, there are plenty to choose from, like the popular sparklers.

Although you will not likely find the illegal fireworks in Maryland, that doesn't mean people aren't looking for them.

"Half the people who come in here ask for the illegal ones, but we remind them they are not permitted in Maryland," says Shade.

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