Freeholders Warn Residents not to Buy or Use Illegal Fireworks on Fourth of July

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TOMS RIVER-It’s that time of year when New Jerseyians, restricted by law cross the bridges over the Delaware River to buy fireworks in Pennsylvania where they treat residents as adults and the purchase of fireworks is legal.

The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is warning residents not to bring those fireworks back, not even a sparkler, because you might get hurt.

“Despite the temptation, the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is asking parents to be extremely cautious with store-bought fireworks and instead celebrate the holiday by attending one of the many professional fireworks displays scheduled around the county,” the board said in a press release issued this week.

“While they may be legal, sparklers and fireworks that are now available at many local stores are still dangerous,” Ocean County Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari said. “Even a sparkler burns at more than 1,000 degrees and can lead to serious injury.”

According to federal statistics, fireworks injure more than 12,000 people every year throughout the United States. The vast majority of those injuries occur during the two weeks leading up to and following July 4. “Many types of fireworks look like toys and are marketed towards children when they are anything but for kids,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Virginia E. Haines. “Be wise and do not travel out of state and buy fireworks that are otherwise unavailable in New Jersey.”

Holding fireworks in your hand, near your face is very dangerous…not to mention stupid.

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“We have seen reports across the country of people who have seriously hurt themselves because the seemingly harmless firecracker they were holding suddenly exploded in their hand or near their face,” Vicari said.

While sparklers, small smoke bombs and party poppers may now be sold and used in the state, other fireworks such as firecrackers and rockets remain illegal.

Possession of illegal fireworks by anyone but a licensed professional is a disorderly person offense, but possession with the intent to sell is a fourth-degree offense, with a possible maximum penalty of 18 months imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.

In addition, with many towns in Ocean County hosting shows during the holiday weekend, Vicari warned that residents should leave their pets at home.

“Many dogs and other animals are terrified of the loud noises made by fireworks,” Vicari said.