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Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office wants people to be careful and know the fireworks laws

Delaware Public Media

While many fireworks shows take place for July 4th, some people choose to stay home and produce their entertainment.

As for what you can do legally.

Sparklers and ground-based displays can be purchased until July 4th, and the person buying them has to be at least 18-years-old.

Those sparklers and ground-based items can only be used on July 4th. Come July 5th they can’t be used again with the exception of the third day of Diwali and New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

And they can be sold again between December 1st and January 1st.

The Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office reminds everyone that fireworks can not only cause serious injuries or death, but they can also cause property damage.

The property damage to homes, vehicles or other items can come from misuse or not properly disposing of any sparklers or ground-based items after use.

"One problem that we've experienced over the years since the law has changed was disposal of the spent fireworks. We had seven structures damaged by fire last year as a result of people shooting them off, and then taking him and putting them in their trash can which was up next to the house," said Assistant State Fire Marshal Scott Bullock.

Bullock notes the time frame from when the spent fireworks were disposed to the fire starting ranged form 40 minutes to two hours with one house sustaining over $500,000 dollars where they lost the whole house to the fire.

He says you should take extra precaution before and after use.

"It's awful dry out, wet the bushes, trees and grass, anything around there, wet it down really well, and then after you discharge the fireworks place them in a bucket full of water and let them sit overnight. And then put them in a trash container. Don't take them right from the yard or wherever your discharging them and put them right in the trash can," said Bullock.

The Fire Marshal’s Office says penalties for misuse of fireworks or possession of illegal fireworks are misdemeanors subject to a fine ranging from $25 to $500.

Illegal fireworks in Delaware include bottle rockets, firecrackers, roman candles, sky lanterns and anything that can explode or shoot in the air. Those items are also not sold in Delaware.

Any damage or injuries caused by the use of fireworks can result in felony charges.

This is why the Fire Marshal’s Office asks everyone to leave fireworks shows to the professionals, and go to one of the many shows across the state on July 4th.

Joe brings over 20 years of experience in news and radio to Delaware Public Media and the All Things Considered host position. He joined DPM in November 2019 as a reporter and fill-in ATC host after six years as a reporter and anchor at commercial radio stations in New Castle and Sussex Counties.