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New ordinance could cite Easton homeowners who allow fireworks on their property

In an effort to fizzle out fireworks within city limits, Mayor Sal Panto Jr. is proposing an ordinance that would cite a homeowner for fireworks set off on their property, even if they aren’t the one lighting the fuse.Panto plans to introduce the ordinance to City Council at their next meeting on July 24.State law already prohibits fireworks from being ignited within 150 feet of an occupied structure, even if no one is present at the time. That part of the law essentially bans fireworks from being set off anywhere within the city.But that hasn’t stopped residents from putting on their own pyrotechnic displays, and the problem has only gotten worse since a state law went into effect last year allowing Pennsylvanian’s to purchase consumer-grade fireworks.City officials tried to discourage firework use last year by enacting an ordinance reiterating the state law, which also bans discharging fireworks from a motor vehicle, toward a motor vehicle or building or while the user is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.That ordinance also clarified residents are prohibited from setting off fireworks in the street, on the sidewalk and in the city’s public parks.But it’s still an issue.“We get plenty of complaints,” said Panto, who reported hearing fireworks go off at 1 a.m. recently in his South Side neighborhood.Police Chief Carl Scalzo said the proposed ordinance would help police officers because right now they can only cite the person they see lighting the fuse. Now, if an officer sees fireworks being fired off from a particular property, he also has the ability to cite the homeowner.“I think it will be another layer to discourage people from setting off fireworks,” Scalzo said.Easton police officers used to respond to complaints by seizing aerial fireworks, Scalzo said, but now the law permits powerful fireworks like bottle rockets and Roman candles.The law allows residents to purchase aerial fireworks. Before, Pennsylvania residents were only permitted to purchase ground-based fireworks, like sparklers or fountains. The many fans of fireworks have responded, buying up colorful displays large and small for holidays and other events.Last year, then-Easton Fire Chief John Bast said the city was like a “war zone,” thanks to the new law. This year was similar, Scalzo said.Luckily, Scalzo said he does not believe anyone was injured by fireworks in Easton this past Fourth of July.Christina Tatu can be reached at 610-820-6583 or
Source: Morningcall

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