Since 2018, the Police Department has experienced a drastic increase in the reported amount of fireworks complaints. We believe this to be a direct result of the changes to Pennsylvania State Law making it now legal to for PA Residents to purchase and possess consumer fireworks. We also believe there was not enough educational information disseminated to the public as this law changed. Below is the State Law and our Borough Ordinance relating to the use of fireworks.
PA State Law
- Section 2404. Use of consumer fireworks.
(a) Conditions.--A person who is at least 18 years of age and meets the requirements of this article may purchase, possess and use consumer fireworks.
(b) Prohibitions.--A person may not intentionally ignite or discharge:
(1) Consumer fireworks on public or private property without the express permission of the owner.
(2) Consumer fireworks or sparkling devices within, or throw consumer fireworks or sparkling devices from, a motor vehicle or building.
(3) Consumer fireworks or sparkling devices into or at a motor vehicle or building or at another person.
(4) Consumer fireworks or sparkling devices while the person is under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance or another drug.
(5) Consumer fireworks within 150 feet of an occupied structure
The full section can be viewed here-
Kennett Square Borough Ordinance
- 7-20 - Discharge generally; exhibitions or displays.
It shall be unlawful for any person at any time (except for supervised public displays) to use or explode fireworks in accordance with 35 Purdon's Statues Section 1272.
- (Ord. No. 293, § 1; Ord. No. 826 (part))
We believe the confusion involving the fireworks issue to have come from the misunderstanding that since it is now legal for residents to purchase and possess consumer fireworks that they are also allowed to ignite them inside the municipal limits of the Borough of Kennett Square. That is not the case.
Per the Borough Ordinance it is unlawful to use or explode fireworks in Kennett Square Borough. Even under the State Law it is illegal to ignite or discharge fireworks within 150 feet of an occupied structure. Due to the close proximity of the properties in the Borough there are very few if any properties located in the Borough to where a firework could be discharged that exceeds the 150 feet requirement of an occupied structure. Nonetheless our Borough Ordinance makes it illegal.
The next part of the problem once we get past the fact of the use of fireworks is just plain illegal, is the impact it has on our residents. Some of those include the disruption in sleep for adults who have to be up early in the morning for work or activities and the disruption to the sleep of children and infants. It has a negative effect on some of our residents who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as well as some of our resident’s domestic animals that can’t handle the loud noises.
The final part of the problem is the safety hazard that this creates. Most fireworks that propel into the air then have to return to the ground. Some of our residents experienced projectiles landing on their roofs, properties and vehicles creating a substantial fire and safety hazard.