Let’s talk fireworks for Chambersburg on New Year’s Eve – the best advice is don’t do it

December 29 – With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, make sure your plans are fun and also safe. 

For folks in the borough of Chambersburg, it’s good to remember that fireworks within the borough limits are illegal. 

In fact, anyone found in violation could be looking at a $500 fine going into 2024. 

Chambersburg Police Chief Ron Camacho said, “Fireworks are basically not permitted anymore within the borough and that means firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets, just the main fireworks that people go and buy and usually use on the Fourth of July. Those are not prohibited in the borough. What’s not prohibited is sparklers or little novelty type fireworks that really aren’t considered fireworks. So Pennsylvania changed the law and allowed the council to provide stricter laws for that. The Borough Council did that last year or the beginning of this year. Basically, that was at the will of the citizens of Chambersburg. So if somebody’s lighting off these firecrackers or Roman candles or bottle rockets or similar stuff, any of the bigger stuff, you can call 911 and our officers will go out there and probably warn first, educate and then probably cite after that. We’ve already gone through this for the Fourth of July. The borough educated the people as far as the law is concerned.”

The warning may not be guaranteed. You could be handed a fine. 

Chief Camacho said, “We’re pretty good at giving warnings. I do not interfere with the discretion of my officers. There might be some instances where they don’t warn and they give you a citation right then and there. That’s probably rare, depending on the interaction and how that goes and maybe prior dealings with that particular person, you might get cited. So if you got warned for fireworks in July, and now it’s January and you’re doing the same thing, you’re probably going to wind up getting a ticket.”

Was anyone fined over the Fourth of July? 

Chief Camacho said, “To the best of my knowledge I don’t think so. So here’s the other thing, too, on these holidays we’re pretty busy and especially New Year’s we’re incredibly busy. That’s probably one of the busiest nights in policing across the United States. We’re running from call to call to call at that time. You can imagine, you have people drinking and celebrating and then you have some of those family arguments that happen that we wind up getting called to, you throw into the mix and unfortunately, this is something that happens in Pennsylvania, people shooting guns in the air. So we’re getting calls for that and then you mix in fireworks to that, it’s a pretty crazy night for the officers and the council removing the use of fireworks for the Fourth, at all times, but basically for the Fourth and New Year’s, just helps us deal with the main things we need to deal with and not go and deal with the minor stuff.”

Remember, it’s not just the fireworks that shoot off in the air. 

Chief Camacho said, “Firecrackers, Roman candles, bottle rockets and any similar fireworks, the law says the maximum of 50 milligrams of explosive materials. So we’re talking about anything that’s shooting up, anything that’s colorful, like that that’s pretty big. Anything from firecrackers up is illegal to use. You’ve got to get permits for the bigger stuff and you get that through borough hall, but to my knowledge, there’s no family that’s doing that here in the borough. So just whatever you would use other than a sparkler is illegal. So sparklers should be the biggest thing that you use. I would say sparklers aren’t considered a firework, but anything else, firecrackers and up is illegal. So don’t do it.” 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM advised, “So, think twice before you strike that match.”