×
X logo

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox.

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)

You may opt-out anytime by clicking "unsubscribe" from the newsletter or from your account.

If It Flies, Don’t Buy It: Wheeling Fire Chief Explains City Fireworks Law

photo by: Photo by Shelley Hanson

Wheeling Fire Department Lt. Tom Haluscak stands a safe distance away from the fountain firework as it burns and sprays colorful sparks and pops.

WHEELING – Residents who plan on celebrating Independence Day this weekend with fireworks should remember to avoid using items that are illegal in the city.

Wheeling Fire Department Chief Jim Blazier said the easiest way to remember which fireworks are illegal is this – if it can fly into the air and explode, it should not be used within the city limits.

Blazier said the city’s ordinance regarding fireworks has been in place since 1981.

“What’s changed over the last several years is the state of West Virginia has made more things legal statewide,” Blazier said. ” Wheeling is not alone as a city that has this ordinance. I believe Morgantown, Charleston and the larger cities have ordinances within city limits not allowing propelling fireworks with explosions at the end.”

One of the main reasons for the city ordinance is because, within city limits, most of the houses and structures are close together. If a firework is propelled into the sky and explodes, its spent stick can fall from the sky with embers still attached and land on someone’s roof, potentially causing a fire.

photo by: Photo by Shelley Hanson

Shown here is a fountain firework, one of the types of fireworks legal to use within Wheeling’s city limits. This one shoots out colorful sparks and pops several times at the end.

Examples of illegal fireworks include bottle rockets, skyrockets, roman candles and sky lanterns.

Even fireworks that are legal to use – like sparklers, fountains, snakes, smoke bombs, party poppers and snaps – can still create a lot of heat.

“One of the biggest injuries with fireworks across the nation is hand injuries, burns and facial burns,” he said.

photo by: Shelley Hanson

Shown here is a fountain firework, one of the types of fireworks legal to use within Wheeling’s city limits. This one shoots out colorful sparks and pops several times at the end.

Blazier recommends those who are going to use fireworks light them with a longer lighter to help avoid face and hand injuries. He said a bucket of water should also be nearby to place spent fireworks. The metal on a sparkler can reach 1,200 degrees.

“After you use a sparkler, put it in water until it is good and cooled off. If you put it in a waste can hot, it can cause a fire,” he said.

Blazier said in past years the fire department has responded to fires related to fireworks.

“It’s not an every-year occurrence,” he added.

When shopping for fireworks, Blazier said vendors in the city should all have brochures that state what is legal to use within the city to help make shopping easier.

In 2021, City Council amended its fireworks ordinance stating anyone who uses illegal fireworks in the city can receive a $500 fine and the fireworks seized.

“Wheeling Police will not be looking for people who are buying fireworks or transporting them in the city, rather shifting their attention and enforcement efforts on illegal discharging,” according to information provided by department spokesman Philip Stahl.

Blazier said he also wants to remind people to be careful while doing other activities to celebrate the holiday, specifically those who are boating on the Ohio River and other waterways.

“Stay safe if you’re going out on a boat or swimming. Use life jackets and exercise safety to prevent a tragedy,” he said.

He noted boaters are required to have life jackets for the amount people allowed on a boat.

NEWSLETTER

Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $4.73/week.

Subscribe Today