Recently, the number of incidents involving the illegal use of fireworks in the City of Reading has increased dramatically. These incidents do not only impact the quality of life in our neighborhoods, they also seriously and detrimentally impact the health and safety of our residents. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that in 2018 there were 19,500 fires caused by the careless use of fireworks in the United States, which resulted in over $150 million in property damage. Additionally, injuries from fireworks resulted in five deaths and 9,100 individuals being treated in hospital emergency departments in 2018. In recent years, several injuries and structural fires related to the illegal use of fireworks within the City have been reported.
While recent changes to state laws have made more powerful and dangerous fireworks available to consumers in Pennsylvania, their use is prohibited within the City of Reading. State and local law does not allow fireworks to be discharged within 150 feet of a structure. The City of Reading Fireworks Ordinance also prohibits any person from igniting or discharging consumer fireworks on City streets, the sidewalks or any property owned by the City, as well as bans the use of any aerial fireworks within the City of Reading. Violations of the City Ordinance can include fines of up to $500 and the seizure of any fireworks being used in violation.
In an effort to ensure our residents are safe and able to enjoy the 4th of July holiday, the City of Reading Police Department will have additional officers responding to firework complaints from now through the holiday weekend. We ask our residents to continue being good neighbors by following the fireworks regulations in place. Together we can improve the health and safety of everyone who lives, learns, works, and visits our great City.