Some fireworks now legal in Chautauqua County

Posted at 7:11 PM, Jun 29, 2016

Chautauqua County has now become the latest county in New York State to allow the use and sale of sparklers and sparkling devices.

The change is so recent that most residents do not realize that it has become official.

At the end of May, the Chautauqua County Legislature unanimously voted to allow sparkling devices.  The legislation was signed by County Executive Vincent Horrigan and then sent to New York State for final approval.  Chautauqua County received confirmation of that acceptance on June 20th.

But the confusion over what is legal remains - with several viewers sending us questions asking how tents set up at the Fredonia Walmart parking lot, and other areas, can legally sell the items?

"About 75% of the people who come in say "I had no idea they were legal," said Lori Novaro-Diehl who is selling fireworks as a contractor for TNT Fireworks in the Walmart parking lot.

"They can legally sell sparkler-type devices but no cherry bombs or explosive devices," added Chautauqua County Executive Vincent Horrigan.

Under the law, no devices that contain aerial items can be sold and there are limitations on the amount of pyrotechnic material that is inside the devices.

Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace says he has mixed emotions about the new law and plans to watch closely to see if it hurts or helps the county's fireworks problems - a problem that is greater because of being a border town with Pennsylvania where residents can easily buy larger and more dangerous fireworks.

"I am worried about the safety because sparklers burn at a tremendous temperature." said Sheriff Gerace.

Chautauqua County legislators are hoping the new law will limit the number of people who go out-of-state to buy the more powerful fireworks.

In 2014, New York State changed its law allowing individual counties to decide for themselves if they would permit the use of certain types of consumer fireworks.  Since then, nearly 40 counties across the state have agreed to do so with Cattaraugus, Allegany and Niagara Counties allowing the use in WNY.

However, consumer use of fireworks is still banned in Erie County with no expectation that Erie County lawmakers have any intention of changing Erie County's laws.

"I really believe the safest thing to do is for families to leave fireworks to professionals and just watch them at one of the many displays around town," added Sheriff Gerace.