Pa. fireworks regulations are complicated

WILLIAMS TWP., Pa. - Lots of Independence Day festivities this Friday will include fireworks, but if you're taking the do it yourself route, you face an uphill battle in Pennsylvania.  

Phantom Fireworks in Williams Township, Northampton County, offers a permit on its website for anyone looking to light aerial fireworks in Pennsylvania, but getting a municipal government official to sign off on the form is hard to do.

The store dedicates an aisle to fireworks approved in Pennsylvania, which are sparklers and basically explosives that stay on the ground.

If you're looking for something to go a little higher in the air...

"If a Pennsylvania resident has a permit, they're able to purchase whatever they like in the store," said Jeff Bell, the store's manager.

Chief John Bast, Easton Fire Department, said getting approval for the permit is almost impossible. 

"We have issued zero," added Bast.

Easton is not the only municipality saying no to more dangerous fireworks.

"We've had some garages catch fire, some buildings, some roofs. We've had some property damage from the legal fireworks," said Bast.

Allentown and Bethlehem allow big fireworks shows, but they're handled by the professionals.

Shows at the SteelStacks in Bethlehem have licensed and insured contractors lighting the mortars.

Fireworks are illegal in New Jersey. Residents can buy them in Pennsylvania and sign a transportation waiver at Phantom Fireworks, but once across the state line, they know they are taking the law into their own hands.

"It's 4th of July, everyone likes to relax, have fun a little bit, but we know we're responsible enough," said Amber Mazza, from New Jersey. "Like I always make sure of that."

So in Pennsylvania, you can celebrate with the peacock fan tail, but if you are looking for the bada bing, bada boom, officials said think again.

"Don't use them," said Bast. "Go to the professional shows and enjoy your holiday that way."

Company representatives at Phantom said they check state ID three times during a customer visit, and a sales representative  tells people what they are allowed to purchase.

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