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Fireworks allowed in city limits as of this weekend

More powerful and many types of aerial fireworks can legally be detonated starting this weekend through Williamsport, city officials said.

The times they can be detonated are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. beginning this weekend and covering a period through the end of next weekend, according to the city fireworks ordinance enacted last September.

These next couple of days and nights will be the first test of the ordinance since New Year’s Day, said Councilman Randall J. Allison.

“As with any new law or initiative, this one should bear close-watching by all municipalities across the state,” Allison said, referencing the state fireworks law.

He also addressed the local disturbing-the-peace amendment put in place last year.

“As for the city ordinance, the city should get a report and assessment from fire, police and codes departments sometime after the holiday and receive citizen input,” Allison said.

“Obviously, this is not reinventing the wheel as other states have had legalized fireworks of this strength for years, but that does not mean we shouldn’t assess its effects and any possible adaptations that can be made to the law that would suit our municipality,” he added.

Some rules do apply. Fireworks users need permission to ignite them on private property and they can’t be detonated closer than 150 feet from a structure.

The issue came to light after the state allowed people to buy fireworks containing more gunpowder many of which were aerial kits, according to fireworks sales professionals.

The council had to respond because the explosions were rocking parts of the city late into the night and early morning, city Police Chief Damon Hagan said.

Hagan said he is preparing the officers to be ready to respond to complaints.

It should be noted the newspaper has received information the fireworks are starting up illegally before the set time.

These are violations of the ordinance and can be enforced as such, according to police.

For those with additional concerns, the council has a public safety committee that meets every other Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. unless it is cancelled. The city clerk can identify if the meeting won’t be held.

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