Fire officials urge extreme caution for the 4th of July - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Fire officials urge extreme caution for the 4th of July

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Fireworks are dangerous and can lead to injury. 

"I've had them burn their ears, their hands," said Chief William Jones with Hanover County Fire and EMS. 

But right now, that's not the only danger. 

"We are experiencing a short term drought. We have been very dry for the past month/month and a half. It's also been very hot," said NBC12 meteorologist Andrew Freiden. 

"There's no moisture in the ground, shrubbery, mulch, all of those dry conditions possess a huge threat for fires to occur, especially with the 4th of July weekend coming up," said Capt. Chris Buerhen with Henrico County Fire and EMS. 

Henrico, Richmond, and Chesterfield actually don't allow fireworks of any kind, but we all know that people don't always follow the rules. Other places like Hanover and Colonial Heights allow things like sparklers and fountains, but hope people will use caution. Burning at 1200 degrees, sparklers - which you've likely seen children holding - can cause major damage. 

In Virginia, if it flies or explodes - it's illegal, but illegal fireworks do make their way in, either across state lines or even through the mail.    

"We have gone to access websites and found where you can find and buy fireworks online and have them delivered directly to your home," said Jones. 

Fire officials and law enforcement will be looking for people breaking the law when it comes to fireworks. If you are caught using illegal fireworks--they will be confiscated, and you could face some serious charges.    

"The charge in the state of Virginia is a class one misdemeanor which carries a $2500 fine and/or a year in jail if you are convicted," said Virginia State Police Sgt. Thomas Molnar. 

Another major concern on the 4th of July is people not being safe even while watching professional fireworks. State police always have a problem with people stopping along the side of the interstate near the Diamond or King's Dominion. That's dangerous and illegal--so don't do it.

Virginia has a law on the books regarding fireworks that allows products like sparklers and fountains--but each county or city adopts it's own local ordinance.

Check with your local fire department or county government to find out the specific laws where you live.


VIRGINIA CONSUMER FIREWORKS

Specifically permitted sparklers, fountains, pharaoh's serpents, pinwheels, and whirligigs. Specifically prohibited Firecrackers, skyrockets, torpedoes, and other fireworks which explode, travel laterally, rise into the air, or fire projectiles into the air. 

DISPLAY FIREWORKS

Display permit
Insurance
Operator

MANUFACTURE, STORAGE, TRANSPORTATION ENFORCING AUTHORITY LAW NUMBER

Apply to local authorities at least 15 days before display date. Bond adequate to pay for all damages to persons or property is required. No license specifically required in state law. Banned items may not be transported, stored or manufactured.

Commonwealth of Virginia
Dept of Housing & Community Development
Office of State Fire Marshal
501 N 2nd Street
Richmond, VA 23219
804-371-7170
www.dhcd.vipnet.org/State_Fire_Marshal/

or

Local fire officials in those areas in which the local governing body has elected to enforce the Statewide Fire Prevention Code.

Code of Virginia, Chap. 11, Sec. 59-1-142 et seq.
Statewide Fire Prevention Code Art. 27
NFPA 1123, NFPA 1124, and NFPA 1126

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