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Some of your fireworks may be illegal

Are you planning to set off firecrackers or bottle rockets this July 4? Did you know you could be committing a crime? Using bottle-rockets, roman candles and certain other types of fireworks is illegal in Ohio and offenders can be fined up to $1,000 and serve a maximum of six months in jail.

Monday, July 02, 2001

Are you planning to set off firecrackers or bottle rockets this July 4? Did you know you could be committing a crime? Using bottle-rockets, roman candles and certain other types of fireworks is illegal in Ohio and offenders can be fined up to $1,000 and serve a maximum of six months in jail.

"Consumer fireworks," which includes cone fountains, cylindrical fountains, roman candles, sky rockets, firecrackers, mines and shells, are illegal to use in Ohio even though licensed fireworks retailers can sell them. As long as the buyer signs a form agreeing to take the items across state lines within 48 hours after purchase or 72 hours if the purchaser is a resident of another state, the retailer can sell the fireworks.

The only type of fireworks legal for use in Ohio are "Novelty" fireworks. This category includes sparklers and trick noise makers. According to the Ohio State Fire Marshal’s office this category of fireworks can be used and sold anywhere in the state.

The reason for the ban on certain fireworks in the state, said the fire marshal’s office, is safety.

According to a letter from Robert R. Rielage, the state’s fire marshal, trick and novelty fireworks should be used with caution. He said novelty fireworks are, "inherently dangerous and should only be discharged with close adult supervision."

Rielage said that even fireworks that are legal in the state can pose health hazards. The fire marshal cites sparklers as an example. Riegal said, "even sparklers, which most people consider harmless and are popular among children, can reach temperatures of 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Instead of individuals setting off fireworks, Rielage recommends Ohioans watch professionally produced firework shows. He said, "I encourage those wanting to make fireworks a part of their Fourth to do what my family and I will do, leave the show in the hands of professionals and attend your local exhibition."