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RPD Issues Warning on Use of Illegal Fireworks

Staff report

Remnants of illegal fireworks set off on Genesee Park Boulevard in July 2020. File photo

Illegal fireworks can cause injuries and damage property – not to mention the disruption to quality of life for people and pets.

The Rochester Police Department is asking residents who see or hear illegal fireworks to call 911 and provide an address where the activity is taking place. Without a specific location, police cannot enforce the city codes and address the dangerous condition.

Penalties range from ticket for violation of a municipal code to criminal charges:

  • Municipal Code 75-4. Excessive noise prohibited. Audible beyond the property line of the premises from which it emanates between the hours of 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. (2) Audible at a distance of 50 feet beyond the property line of the premises from which it emanates between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. (3) Audible at a distance of 50 feet from the source if emanating from a public street, public park or other public place.
  • New York state Penal Law-Section 270.00-You will be charged with unlawfully dealing with fireworks and dangerous fireworks if you possess, explode, sell or furnish fireworks.

New York law allows for the sale and use of a specific category of consumer fireworks known as sparkling devices. These are ground or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke.

The law limits the type, size and construction of sparklers and requires that these devices must be hand held or mounted on a base or spike and be limited in sizes that range from 1 to 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition.

Sale and use of Sparkling Devices is legal in counties such as Monroe and in cities that have not enacted a local law pursuant to NYS Penal Law-Section 405.00.

The following counties have prohibited the sale and use of sparklers: Bronx, Columbia, Kings, Nassau, New York, Queens, Richmond, Schenectady, Suffolk and Westchester.