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“You’re wasting your money:” Aldermen warn of dangers, penalties of using fireworks

MILWAUKEE -- Fireworks may be pretty to look at and fun to enjoy, but they're also potentially damaging to your health and your wallet. Milwaukee aldermen on Wednesday, June 7th issued a warning ahead of the Fourth of July holiday.

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, the rockets' red glare and bombs bursting in air will soon fill the night sky.

Fireworks

"We want you to enjoy the Fourth of July. We want you to enjoy summer, so you can come out to the parks when we have the events under trained supervision, lighting these fireworks," said Milwaukee Alderman Michael Murphy.

Alderman Murphy said leave the fireworks to the professionals. Aldermen and police held a press conference on Wednesday to remind residents that personal fireworks of any kind are illegal throughout Milwaukee County.

"Common fireworks that our officers are encountering are things like sparklers, roman candles, bottle rockets, firecrackers and cherry bombs," said Sergeant Tim Gauerke, Milwaukee Police Department.

Aldermen talk dangers of fireworks, penalties

The confusion comes because fireworks are legal in the state if you have a permit, often sold at the stands themselves. But even with a permit, you have to obey the laws of whatever municipality or county you're in at the time.

Fireworks

"People think they have a permit and therefore it's legal," said Alderman Witkowski. "Fireworks are not legal anywhere in Milwaukee County."

The cost of breaking that law is severe.

"Citation amounts for adults are $699, and for juveniles they are $94," said Gauerke.

Aldermen talk dangers of fireworks, penalties

Fireworks are also potentially dangerous to your -- or someone else's -- health.

"Sparklers themselves, the temperature they reach can almost melt metal, so you can imagine what damage they do to young children's fingers and hands," said Alderman Murphy.

Fireworks

Officials want to ensure that your summer is a blast, as long as you're not the one setting it off.

Sergeant Gauerke said MPD responds to more than 1,000 calls about fireworks throughout the year, with most of those coming on and around the Fourth of July.