Elkins, W. Va., June 29, 2020: As Independence Day draws closer, Elkins Mayor Van Broughton and city public safety officials are reminding area residents about important precautions and legal restrictions to keep in mind when using fireworks.
“The Chamber has postponed their annual fireworks show until at least Labor Day,” said Mayor Broughton. “In case people are thinking about doing their own fireworks, we just want to make sure everyone’s following the law and staying as safe as possible.”
Although state laws concerning fireworks were loosened in 2016, Elkins city code states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to use, shoot, or discharge consumer fireworks within the City limits.” Violators of the city fireworks ordinance may be fined as much as $500.
“Consumer fireworks—which include firecrackers, rockets, Roman candles, and that sort of thing—are illegal inside city limits,” said Elkins Police Department Chief Travis Bennett. “Basically, if it’s a handheld device like a sparkler, or if it’s a ground-based device like fountains, snakes, or smoke bombs, it’s allowed. If it fires something into the air or explodes, it’s against the law in Elkins.”
Regardless of whether fireworks are being used inside or outside of city limits, Elkins Fire Department Chief Tom Meader hopes everyone will follow certain important safety precautions.
“Don’t let kids use fireworks, don’t use fireworks when you’ve been drinking, and never try to relight fireworks that didn’t go off,” says Chief Meader. “Also, please make sure you have a bucket of water or a garden hose ready just in case you accidentally start something on fire.”
Mayor Broughton hopes residents will consider their neighbors when using fireworks.
“I would ask everybody to stop and think about how their fireworks displays might be affecting others in our community,” says Broughton. “Especially when people use fireworks on days other than the fourth of July, it can cause a lot of anxiety for people with PTSD, like some of our veterans. And no matter what day you do it on, it’s going to be really frightening for a lot of people’s pets. I know people just want to have fun and celebrate America’s birthday, but let’s all try to be as considerate as possible.”