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While certain types of fireworks are legal, safety is still important

A row of fountain fireworks on a table at a stand in a Safeway parking lot.
Roman Battaglia
Delaware Public Media

The Delaware Office of the State Fire Marshal reminds residents to be safe, and that most consumer fireworks are still illegal in Delaware as we approach New Year’s Eve.

Sparklers and ground based items are legal to purchase through January 1st. They’re illegal come January 2nd.

Michael Chionchio is the assistant State Fire Marshal. He says you have to be careful even when using the permitted fireworks.

"So you must, must, must use caution even using these fireworks that are permitted during this time period,” said Chionchio. “They need to be fully extinguished doused with water and kept away from the house and in a metal type container until they have completely cooled."

Chionchio notes if you’re not careful, it can be harmful.

"We've had numerous fires involving trash cans - where people set these fireworks off the permissible ones, the ones that are allowed to be set off - and then they immediately throw it in the trash can and then about an hour later their trash can and the side of their house is on fire," said Chionchio.

They can only be used on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, and if you use any fireworks that shoot into the air and explode, the penalties range from misdemeanors resulting in a fine to felony charges if there are any damages or injuries.

The legal fireworks are sold in Delaware.

Chionchio says retailers have done a good job staying within the law.

"We do monitor the retail sales of these "fireworks" during these 30 day periods, and yes, the items available in the department stores and the grocery stores are legal to possess and use on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day," said Chionchio.

Chionchio recommends if you want to see fireworks, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

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.