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City Departments to Enforce Fireworks Laws as 4th of July Approaches

As the 4th of July approaches, the Huntington Fire Department is assisting the West Virginia State Fire Marshal’s Office in aggressively conducting inspections of any establishment in city limits that sells consumer fireworks to ensure they comply with state law.

The Public Works Department’s Code Enforcement Unit has also inspected these establishments to ensure they have a city business license, and the Huntington Police Department will bolster enforcement efforts over the holiday with the intent of squelching illegal fireworks displays.

A relatively new state law, which took effect June 1, 2016, allows for the retail sale of consumer fireworks such as firecrackers, bottle rockets, mortar shells and roman candles. Prior to the legislation, only novelty items ( for example, glow worms, smoke devices, trick noisemakers, party poppers, wire sparklers and other sparkling devices) were allowed for retail sale in West Virginia. 

Retail establishments, whether permanent or temporary in structure, that sell consumer fireworks must be certified with the State Fire Marshal’s Office and must be inspected by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. The State Fire Marshal’s Office may delegate that authority to a local fire department that has jurisdiction over structures. The Huntington Fire Department conducted inspections of the two consumer fireworks retail establishments in city limits the week of June 18. Both establishments passed inspection.

The Code Enforcement Unit is also assisting in the inspection process to ensure that retail sales establishments have the required city business license and to remind them of the regulations about placing signage on public rights-of-way. Both retail establishments were inspected Monday, June 26, and both have the required licenses.

The new legislation does not affect the authority of a municipality to prohibit or regulate the use of consumer fireworks within its boundaries. Therefore, the City of Huntington will continue to prohibit the use of consumer fireworks as outlined in its local ordinances.

“As the saying goes, if it makes a loud boom or flies into the air, it always has been and will continue to be illegal in the City of Huntington,” Fire Chief Jan Rader said. “Residents should leave fireworks to the professionals and attend one of the many public displays in our area instead.”

The following public fireworks displays in the Tri-State are scheduled for next week:

  • Dawg Dazzle, Harris Riverfront Park, July 3
  • Ashland River Port, July 4
  • Village of Barboursville, July 4
  • Camden Park, July 8

The Huntington Police Department will have officers dedicated solely to enforcement of fireworks laws on July 4 and the days leading up to the holiday. Those caught discharging consumer fireworks within city limits are subject to fines of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail.

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