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State Fire Marshal cautions residents from using illegal fireworks on Independence Day

James Dawson
Delaware Public Media

As Independence Day nears, the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s office reminds people not all fireworks are legal in the First State.

Even though you’re likely to hear plenty of firecrackers, bottle rockets and even mortars going off on July 4th, technically they’re all illegal in Delaware.

According to Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael Chionchio, any firework that is lit and can be projected into the air is prohibited.

“The only legal items, legal on the July 4th holiday, are sparklers and ground-items, fountains. Items that do not leave the ground,” he said.

For anyone disappointed, Chionchio encourages them to attend one of the dozen licensed firework shows up and down the state that are scheduled for the holiday.

Chionchio said aerial fireworks are not permitted because they can cause serious injury or death and lead to fire and property damage.

According to the most recent National Fire Protection Association data nearly 20,000 fires started by fireworks were reported to fire departments across the country.

“These laws are in effect to protect the people, including children, and to protect property, including houses and fields and woods and things like that,” Chionchio said.

He encourages people who see dangerous firework use to call 911.

Mark Arehart is an award-winning reporter/producer. Before returning to Delaware, Arehart was a reporter for WKSU and Ideastream Public Media in Northeast Ohio. He previously hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He has worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.