SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Absolutely no fireworks. That’s the message to all Scranton residents from top city officials ahead of this Fourth of July weekend.
The mayor, police chief and acting deputy fire chief spoke outside city hall Thursday afternoon. They will be putting their foot down starting Friday and through the weekend.
Firework purchases are expected to be “record-breaking” according to the American Pyrotechnics Association. With many communities canceling July Fourth celebrations, more consumers are buying fireworks and setting them off at their homes.
“I know people are bored, there’s not much to do this summer because of COVID than usual. But it does not mean fireworks are the hobby to take up,” said Mayor Cognetti.
Cognetti says it’s illegal in the city of Scranton to set off fireworks within 150 feet of a structure.
“We keep hearing it. It’s happening all over the city. I can hear it from my house. It’s waking up my daughter. I know it’s waking up kids and scaring kids. It’s scaring dogs. It’s scaring our older adults. I know people with PTSD,” Cognetti said.
Cognetti says this has been on the rise for more than a month.
“It’s not a safe thing to do. It should be left up to professionals as it was witnessed tragically last week in Scranton where a gentleman lost his life,” said Les Spindler from Scranton.
Over the weekend, 31-year-old Corey Buckley died instantly when a commercial grade firework exploded. Spindler has been woken up a couple times this year from neighbors lighting up fireworks.
“That’s totally inconsiderate by these people and it’s against the law,” said Spindler.
“On Friday and Saturday night, we will have two dedicated teams out there strictly enforcing fireworks laws,” said Chief Carl Graziano of the Scranton Police Department.
Chief Graziano says those laws are summary offenses.
“It’s necessary because this year we’ve seen our fireworks calls double since last year,” Chief Graziano said.
Scranton City’s legal team and the mayor’s office are working with Chief Graziano and the fire department to change the ordinance that will increase the fine to $300. Right now, the fine is $100 if found to be setting off fireworks.