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The original item was published from 11/3/2022 3:41:33 PM to 11/4/2022 9:59:39 AM.

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Posted on: November 4, 2022

[ARCHIVED] New ordinance to ban use of fireworks in Norristown


NORRISTOWN- The Municipal Council of Norristown is in the process to approve a proposed ordinance that will further limit where fireworks may be used in the municipality.

Council took the first step on Oct. 18 when they approved to advertise Ordinance 22-04, which, if adopted, will ban the use of consumer-grade fireworks in the municipality due to a change in state law that prohibits their use within 150 feet of any building or vehicle.

An adoption vote for Ord. 22-04 is scheduled for Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m.

“Municipal Council of the Municipality of Norristown has determined after conducting appropriate inquiries during its meetings and after receiving public comment, that use of consumer fireworks within the Municipality of Norristown limits would violate the prohibition in the Fireworks Law… and would be contrary to the public interest and harmful to public safety,” reads a portion of the ordinance. “In accordance with the Fireworks Law… there is no location within the Municipality of Norristown city limits that meets statutory requirements.”

The Fireworks Law, signed by Gov. Tom Wolf as Act 74 of 2022, took effect on Sept. 9, 2022 and made a number of changes to state law that allows municipalities to prohibit or restrict certain uses of consumer fireworks. Some of the updates to state law include prohibition to discharge within 150 feet of a building or vehicle, regardless if the building or vehicle is owned by the user of the consumer fireworks, and that a municipality may prohibit the use of consumer fireworks if that 150-foot limit cannot be met.

Before the enactment of Act 74, Municipal Code §163-2(b) prohibited the use of consumer fireworks on public or private property without the landowner’s expressed permission, to be discharged from a motor vehicle or building, or use within 150 feet of any occupied structure.

The ordinance makes a blanket ban on use of consumer grade fireworks to address a safety issue that has resulted in potentially deadly consequences.

“Since 2020 we have seen an increase in calls over the holidays where fireworks are commonly used. During the 4th of July holiday weekends from 2020 to 2022 there have been four building fires and one vehicle fire resulting in serious damage,” said Norristown Fire Chief Thomas O’Donnell. “We think this ban is the right choice to protect lives and property and preventing further tragedies from happening considering how densely populated our community is.”

Violation of the ordinance carries a fine of up to $500 for the first offenses, and $1,000 for subsequent offenses within three years of the first conviction.

“Norristown Police will investigate any use of banned consumer fireworks that are reported and issue citations if evidence supports the need,” said Norristown Police Chief Derrick Wood. “Neighbors will be needed to assist in prosecution, as they are the witnesses in most, if not all, instances. Witnesses will be needed for court proceedings, as police usually are not the first-hand witnesses of this type of activity.”

Per the Municipal Charter, the first step to adopt an ordinance starts when council approves the advertisement of a proposed ordinance at a scheduled council meeting that is open to the public. The ordinance shall be published at least once in one or more newspapers of general circulation in the Municipality not more than 60 days, nor less than seven days, prior to the council meeting scheduled for consideration of the ordinance.

A full copy of the proposed ordinance is available at and a copy is available at temporary municipal offices at 1700 Markley St. Suite 104, Norristown, Pa. 19401.

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