VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — While some may be hoping to shoot off fireworks during the Fourth of July weekend, fire officials are reminding Virginians that they are actually illegal.
In Virginia, a person is not legally allowed to possess, use, store, sell or handle any firework that explodes or rises into the air. It is a violation of the Virginia State Fire Prevention Code.
The code specifically prohibits skyrockets, torpedoes and other fireworks that contains any explosive or flammable compound. Sparklers are the exception in some places.
According to the State Fire Marshal, sparklers are considered a novelty item are are legal in the state, but not in every city.
Local ordinances — like in Virginia Beach — ban the use of sparklers, but Virginia Beach Fire Marshal Lorna Trent admits it’s hard to enforce.
“Enforcement’s very hard on them and a lot of people don’t realize they’re illegal,” Trent said. “Every year, we get calls. A lot of times by the time we get there, they’re done, and we can’t find it because it’ll just be a vague call of, ‘in this neighborhood.'"
Trent warns that even sparklers can be dangerous.
“It seems like something that would be easy to give a child,” she said. “People don’t realize they burn at 2,000 degrees and the sparks they put off are at 2,000 degrees, which quickly burns.”
Fire officials said most fireworks-related injuries are to the hands and fingers, followed by those to the face and eyes.
“Fireworks are dangerous,” Trent said. “They’re not toys. They shouldn’t be in kids’ hands.”
Illegal fireworks are a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and or a $2,500 fine.