Every year, adults and children are seriously injured and fires are ignited by people setting off fireworks across the city. In a joint effort to promote safety this Fourth of July holiday, the Virginia Beach Fire Marshal’s Office and the Virginia Beach Police Department are urging citizens not to use fireworks. During last year’s holiday weekend, the Fire Department responded to 21 fireworks-related incidents.
The Fire Marshal’s Office has teamed up with the Virginia Beach Police Department to form the Fireworks Enforcement Team. The team will confiscate illegal fireworks and issue summonses. The teams will be in Sandbridge, the North End (54th to 89th streets), Chicks Beach and Croatan. In addition, three teams will patrol citywide. The purpose of these patrols is to ensure safe communities from illegal fireworks. There will not be any amnesty checkpoints this year.
Citizens are reminded that all fireworks are illegal in Virginia Beach, including sparklers, which burn at 1,800 degrees. According to the U.S. Fire Administration’s 2010 US Fireworks Injury Report, there were 8,600 fireworks-related injuries in 2010 – an alarming 40 percent of these involving children under the age of 15.
Possessing illegal fireworks is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $2,500 fine. Citizens are encouraged to attend fireworks shows at Mount Trashmore and the Oceanfront. Residents and visitors attending the Fourth of July fireworks at the Oceanfront can park for free at the Virginia Beach Convention Center parking lot on 19th Street. The fireworks extravaganza, launched from a barge off 20th Street, will begin at 9:30 p.m. on July 4.
Sec. 12-43.2. Fireworks and pyrotechnic displays unlawful; exceptions.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section it shall be unlawful for any person to transport, manufacture, assemble, store, sell, offer or display for sale, or to buy, use, possess, ignite or explode any firecracker, torpedo, sky rocket, sparkler, or other substance or device that contains any explosive or flammable compound or substance, and is intended or commonly known as fireworks, and which explodes, rises into the air or travels laterally, fires projectiles or discharges sparks into the air.
(b) The provision of this section shall not be applicable to (1) any organization or group of individuals which has been granted a permit by the fire official for the public or private display of fireworks or pyrotechnics, provided that such fireworks are stored, handled, transported and used in compliance with the terms and conditions of such permit; or (2) any federal, state or local government animal or fowl management agency agents acting within the scope of their lawful duties. Such agents shall provide the Fire Marshal’s Office with at least 24 hours notice of intent to possibly employ pyrotechnic tactics. (c) The fire marshal or any law enforcement officer shall be authorized to seize, take, remove or cause to be removed, at the expense of the owner, all fireworks offered or exposed for display or sale, stored or held in violation of this section.
(d) Violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor.
For more information, contact Battalion Chief Tim Riley at (757) 385-1075 or email@example.com, or Master Police Officer Adam Bernstein at (757) 385-4097 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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