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Pa. Senate passes bill limiting time for setting off fireworks

Bill would limit time for setting off fireworks
Bill would limit time for setting off fireworks 02:44

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A bill currently in Harrisburg would look to put a limit on when people could shoot off fireworks.

The night sky is certain to be filled with lights, booms and smoke this weekend with fireworks shows all over the region. With the popularity of consumer grade fireworks, some shows may be a little closer to your home.    

Since consumer grade fireworks became legal in 2017, police say they've seen a rise in calls and complaints, so state leaders want to address that and put some of the tax money from fireworks to use for first responders.  

It's the sounds of the season, and for some, the sounds of frustration.  

"What ends up happening is we have neighbor disputes over that because one neighbor likes fireworks and the other doesn't," Shaler Police Chief Sean Frank said.  

According to Frank, June 15 to July 15 is the height of the year for calls of fireworks complaints.  

"Especially later at night. People with younger kids, especially animals, get sensitive to the loud noises," Frank said.  

In 2020 they had 106 for the year, and 70 just in that one month. Last year it was 40 for the whole year. This year, it's down to just five calls, but Chief Frank expects that number to go up this weekend.  

"On the Fourth of July when you're getting several calls in different neighborhoods, it's really hard to control that," Frank told KDKA. 

House Bill 2157 would limit fireworks to 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., except on July 2-4 and Dec. 31 when they could be fired off until 1 a.m. the next day. It also would require anyone who lives near livestock to get a written notice to the animals' owner three days in advance.  

"If it limits the time and also limits the time of alcohol consumption, it gives the police officers definitive times on when you're not allowed to do it," Shaler-Hampton EMS Chief Eric Schmidt said.  

He said the last five years have seen an increase in injuries because of people not using consumer grade fireworks properly.  

"Adults, fireworks and alcohol is a pretty bad combination," Schmidt said.  

A provision in the bill would call for $1.5 million from the sales tax to go to EMS crews around the state.  

"Any money we receive is certainly beneficial to the service. We typically put it into our staff for training so we can better do our job and be there when the community needs us," Schmidt told KDKA. 

The bill just passed the state Senate and will go back to the state House. If the governor signs it into law, it will go into effect 60 days later. It will not have an impact on this holiday weekend.  

Pittsburgh Public Safety said its fireworks task force is out and responding to calls through July 6. Last year they had more than 150 complaints and had several fires to deal with.  

Some first responders said if you want to enjoy fireworks, come to a show like down at the Point.  

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