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Sheriff’s Office Seizes Large Amount of Illegal Fireworks in Vehicle

WHITESTOWN – Investigators from the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Unit seized a large amount of illegal fireworks from a vehicle following a traffic stop on Westmoreland Road in the Town of Whitestown Thursday morning, Sheriff Rob Maciol announced today.

Inv. Rick Stanek conducted the traffic stop as part of an investigation and observed the rear hatch and seat area of the vehicle completely full of illegal fireworks packages.

The fireworks were seized and the two occupants of the vehicle were released on appearance tickets returnable to juvenile probation, charging them with Unlawful Possession of Fireworks in violation of NYS Penal Law section 270.00 (class B misdemeanor).  Due to the occupants of the vehicle being juveniles under New York State Law (under the age of 18) no further information will be released regarding their arrests.

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol is again reminding residents that ground-based or hand held sparkling devices are the ONLY types of fireworks that are legal to buy and use in Oneida County.

A 2014 change in New York State Penal Law and 2016 Oneida County Local Law allows for the sale and use of only a specific category of consumer fireworks known as “Sparkling Devices”. All other fireworks are still illegal in New York State.

Sparkling Devices are ground based or handheld devices that produce a shower of colored sparks and or a colored flame, audible crackling or whistling noise and smoke. The law limits the type, size and construction of Sparkling Devices and requires that these devices must be hand held or mounted on a base or spike and be limited in sizes that range from 1 to 500 grams of pyrotechnic composition.

The sale and use of these sparkler devices is only permitted in Oneida County on or between June 1 and July 5 and December 26 and January 2, and can only be purchased by those over the age of 18.

Law enforcement agencies in the county, including the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office, continue to see a significant increase in the number of fireworks related complaints. Nearly all of the complaints involve the use of illegal fireworks that are not allowed under the local law.

According to Sheriff Maciol, his office has received fireworks related complaints from local residents, town supervisors, and village mayors.  Illegal fireworks typically are those that are lit or ignited from the bottom and produce explosion sounds, rise into the air and then explode, or project into the air. Examples of illegal fireworks include firecrackers, M80’s, flaming balls, bottle rockets, mortars, spinners, and roman candles. Like the arrests announced today, these types of illegal fireworks are in violation of the NYS Penal Law section 270.00 (class B misdemeanor) and depending on the time of day, can also be in violation of local municipal noise ordinances.

Sheriff Maciol would also like to remind residents that they can report illegal fireworks related complaints via the non-emergency phone line for the law enforcement agency that primarily patrols their neighborhood. The non-emergency phone number for the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office is 315-736-0141.

Even when using the legal sparkler devices, there is still danger involved and precautions are needed. Sheriff Maciol offers these common sense safety tips when using the devices allowed by law;

SAFETY TIPS:

  • Always follow the directions located on the packaging
  • All sparklers are for outdoor use only, never use indoors
  • Always wear eye protection when using sparklers
  • Never light more than one sparkler at a time
  • Never point a sparkler tube towards anyone or any part of your body
  • Keep sparklers and novelty devices in a safe secure location when not in use
  • Never use sparklers when under the influence of alcohol or drugs
  • Always keep an approved fire extinguisher nearby during a display
  • Never try to relight or handle malfunctioning fireworks.
  • Douse malfunctioning and spent devices with water before discarding to prevent a fire
  • Purchase sparklers and novelty devices from NY State registered retailers

FACTS: