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Fireworks: What's illegal in Virginia?

Be careful celebrating Independence Day or else face jail time, fines

ROANOKE, Va. – If you want to celebrate Independence Day with a bang, before you light that match, make sure you know which fireworks you legally can and can't use in Virginia.

In the Commonwealth, you're allowed to have sparklers, fountains, pharaoh's serpents, pinwheels and whirligigs.

It's illegal to set off or possess firecrackers, skyrockets, torpedoes and other fireworks that explode, travel laterally, rise into the air or fire projectiles into the air.

"Anything that goes off of the ground and into the air, you cannot sell those," said Robbin Lovelace, who sells fireworks at a TNT Fireworks tent in Roanoke.

Darnell Wood works at the tent, too. He said that even though certain fireworks are prohibited, people still come by looking for them.

"The first thing they ask is they want something with a lot of boom," Wood said. "Well, for a lot of boom, we have things that give boom but they don't go up in the air and explode and you tell them that and they immediately turn around and walk away."

Fireworks of any kind are never allowed on federal land. Even if you buy fireworks in another state and bring them back into Virginia, Roanoke County Fire and Rescue community outreach coordinator Brian Clingenpeel said you're still liable.

"Every year, thousands of people get injured and go to the emergency room related to fireworks injuries," Clingenpeel said. "It's a safety issue is the number one reason that that law is there."

If you're caught owning, selling or using illegal fireworks, it's a Class 1 misdemeanor, and you could face up to 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine.

Even some fireworks that are legal aren't always safe.

"Keep it safe so everyone will have a happy fourth of July," Wood said.


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