Erie County DA’s Office Warns Public About Potential Charges for Setting Off Illegal Fireworks

Modified: June 23, 2020 10:19am

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Erie County District Attorney John Flynn is reminding residents that setting off fireworks is not only dangerous and disruptive, but also an illegal activity.

The Erie County District Attorney’s Office contacted various law enforcement agencies after receiving complaints from residents throughout Erie County. Police in Amherst, Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Orchard Park, and West Seneca noted an increase in calls about fireworks in recent weeks.

In addition to being a nuisance for neighbors, setting off fireworks in a residential area can have a negative impact on people, animals, and property. Fireworks can cause serious injury or death to people using them or to those nearby. Fireworks are explosives that have the potential to set fire to nearby homes and other properties. The sound of fireworks can cause distress for individuals with PTSD or other medical conditions, pets, and wildlife.

Potential charges may include:

  • Unlawfully Dealing with Fireworks and Dangerous Fireworks: The sale of illegal fireworks (roman candles, bottle rockets, mines, pyrotechnics, etc.) is a Class “B” misdemeanor. Possession of these illegal fireworks is a violation.  
  • Disorderly Conduct: Intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof: making unreasonable noise. This charge is a violation.
  • Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree: Recklessly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person. This charge is a Class “D” felony. 
  • Section 293 of the Buffalo City Ordinance prohibits unreasonable noise. Cities, towns, and villages may have a similar ordinance.