ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Before you head out of state to purchase some fireworks for Independence Day celebrations, authorities want to make sure you know there are consequences for purchasing fireworks illegal in the state of New York — especially if things get out of control.  

New Yorkers purchasing their fireworks from temporary or fixed stands need not worry, as those vendors are certified and sell completely legal ground-based devices. However, anyone who travels out of state for air fireworks should know that they could ruin your entire block’s holiday weekend. 

President of the 19th Ward Community Association and longtime neighborhood resident Karen Emerson only recently noticed Fourth of July celebrations getting more dangerous since COVID-19 canceled city-sponsored celebrations the past two summers.

The cancellations prompted people to bring illegal fireworks into their own neighborhoods to make up for the lack of explosive celebrations.

“My hope is that people enjoy the fireworks that the city is going to display,” Emerson said. “And enjoy the fireworks in multiple communities around the area and not bring them into our neighborhoods.” 

Although shooting off-air fireworks is not punishable by long-term prison sentences, officers with the Rochester Police Department still plan to be on the lookout for reckless usage, which carries consequences.

“A violation of law is a fine and up to 15 days in jail […] for processing these fireworks that aren’t legal in the State of New York,” Rochester police Lieutenant Greg Bello said. “So, think about it before you go acting them, it’s a significant fine that can go along with it — or jail time.” 

The 19th Ward Community Association and others have planned over the next few days to network with law enforcement and their neighborhood watch volunteers to crackdown on an out-of-control firework celebration. Reporting any reckless usage leads to fires or someone being injured.   

“Neighbors walking the street with communication to our police officers,” Emerson said. “We meet with them once a month just to keep everybody aware of what’s going on in the neighborhood.” 

“I was at a scene in which case a mourner had gone off in somebody’s hand and destroyed most of their hand that was left,” Lt. Bello reflected on from last year. “I myself and other officers had to apply first aid kits to heal that.” 

Explosives like firecrackers, chasers, skyrockets, and Roman candles are also illegal under New York State Law.  

Any violations of the city noise ordinance from fireworks or other loud party music begin if they continue to go off after 10:00 p.m.