(WHTM) — Celebrations over our nation’s independence have turned to sorrow across the state. An eight-year-old in York County was killed and businesses across Pa. were destroyed because of fireworks-caused fires.
There are new calls for new rules about aerial fireworks. “From the lens of a Fire Chief it was a hellish weekend for the fire service,” Harrisburg Fire Chief Brian Enterline said.
Destruction in Lebanon County and elsewhere across the state, fires caused by fireworks being blamed. “We lost an eight-year-old kid over the weekend because of the irresponsibility of the legislature in legalizing fireworks in Pennsylvania,” Enterline said.
“I’m glad I voted against it. In hindsight, I wish I could’ve convinced more people to vote against it,” Senator Kristin Phillips Hill (R-York) said. Phillips Hill voted no in 2017 to legalize commercial-grade fireworks for consumers. She says the millions the state takes in doesn’t justify the cost of police and fire responders. The dead eight-year-old lived in her district. “And really, how do you quantify human life?” Phillips Hill said.
Fire Chiefs know that a ban on aerial fireworks statewide likely won’t happen, but lawmakers could let cities like Philly or Harrisburg issue their own bans and stiffen penalties for violators. Phillips Hill supports it but isn’t sure about her colleagues.
“Our call is legislators, do your stinking job and get us the ability to ban the use of fireworks in cities, in tightly packed municipalities where there’s just nowhere to legally set them off,” Enterline said.
Phillips Hill knowns Pennsylvanians love buying them and companies love selling them. The fireworks and the forces behind them are powerful, but she focuses on firefighters already stretched too thin. “They have a lot on their plate just on average day-to-day calls so we don’t need to give them any more work,” Phillips Hill said.
“We live in a war zone every single summer and our citizens are begging and pleading with us to do something and there’s nothing we can do,” Enterline said.