New fireworks law clears up confusion, standardizes regulations

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- There are some big changes to the state's firework's law this year, and they should clarify things for residents hoping to add a spark(ler) or two to their holiday celebrations.

Until now, it was up to individual cities to decide what was allowed and what was not.

“Last year, it was very confusing. You could buy fireworks in the city of Phoenix, but you couldn't use them. You could go to other cities and buy them," Brian Scholl, an inspector with the Phoenix Fire Department, explained. "The new law makes it equal for all the cities. What you buy in Phoenix, you can use in Gilbert -- as long as they are the permissible type."

Scholl is referring to fireworks like sparklers, spinners and fountains. You can use them in a safe area June 24-July 6 and Dec. 24-Jan. 3 for Independence Day and New Year's respectively. Sales of permissible fireworks are allowed May 20-July 6 and Dec. 10-Jan. 3.

“If it goes up into the air or explodes, it's still not legal year-round -- any kind of bottle rocket, firecrackers, roman candles. Those are still not legal any time of the year," Scholl said.

The Phoenix Fire Department demonstrated the dangers of a cherry bomb. When it exploded, it disintegrated a watermelon while shattering the cinder block underneath. While that's a firework that’s illegal to use,  firefighters also showed how dangerous the permissible ones, like sparklers could be, by lighting a shirt on fire with it.

"Just because the fireworks are permissible in this new law doesn't mean they're safe," Scholl said,.  "They're still very hot. They can burn you and cause a fire,” said Scholl.    

Anybody caught selling or firing off illegal fireworks could be fined $1,000.