WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Fourth of July means backyard fireworks for many local families, but this year, if you live in Wilkes-Barre, you’d better think twice before lighting them off.
This Fourth of July will look a lot different for many, Wilkes-Barre City Council made a decision Thursday that will have a large impact on people and businesses in the area.
After a unanimous vote on Thursday by Wilkes-Barre City Council, it is now illegal to set off consumer-grade fireworks within 150 feet of any structure in the Diamond City.
The strict ruling all but prohibits lighting off fireworks in the city.
“There is nowhere in the city that falls within the parameters of this ordinance to use fireworks and nowhere on streets, sidewalks, parks, or any else place can use them also,” said City Council Member Bill Barrett.
Before the new ordinance, violators were fined $100 for the use of consumer fireworks.
Now that fine will be set at a maximum of $500.
Any person selling consumer fireworks in violation of the ordinance will be fined nothing less than $10,000.
“We can only hope that people take this seriously because we are going to take this seriously. This city is going to take this seriously and these violations are very significant, and it also includes confiscations of fireworks that you have. So if you want to put on a show for your neighbors and you have fireworks there you aren’t only facing fines but you are facing confiscations of all your materials as well,” Barrett explained.
Barrett said enforcing the new rule will take more effort on the part of law enforcement, but the city is behind the ban and plans on making the holiday a safe one.
“The Mayor and the administration have a meeting with the police department for how we are going to do this and I’m just hopeful we put a dent into what’s been going on and an end to the dangers we have seen in the past,” Barrett continued.
Eyewitness News reached out to several fireworks stands and businesses but have not heard back for comment.