City Police To Heavily Enforce Statewide Ban On Illegal Fireworks

Area residents are expected to flock to one of many area fireworks displays scheduled Tuesday evening.

However, it’s the amateur shows that Jamestown police will be looking for this Fourth of July holiday.

Capt. Robert Samuelson of the Jamestown Police Department said he expects officers will handle “dozens of calls over the next several days” for reports of illegal fireworks.

“This takes us away from other needs of police assistance,” Samuelson said, noting that the statewide ban is in place because fireworks pose a fire risk and a danger to the user and bystanders.

Under a county local law signed last year, only “sparkling devices” are allowed for use by those 18 and older during the Independence Day holiday. The ground-based or handheld devices produce a shower of colored sparks or flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke.

All other types of devices — such as firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles — are illegal to sell and possess in the state under penal law.

Samuelson said those who purchase illegal fireworks, whether locally or in neighboring states, are subject to arrest if they are set off within the city.

“We are seeing many posts on social media where people are in the belief that if they can buy them locally they can be used locally,” he said. “This is not the case. People believe the sparkler law covers these bigger fireworks but it does not.”

Chautauqua County Sheriff Joe Gerace said the law has proven difficult to enforce due to various types of sparklers available to consumers. The sheriff said deputies respond to a “tremendous amount of fireworks complaints” during the Fourth of July holiday.

Dunkirk Police Chief David Ortolano said his department has a “zero-tolerance policy” when it comes to the sale and possession of illegal fireworks.