City of Lancaster to Take Zero Tolerance Stance to Illegal Use of Fireworks & Urges State to Change Fireworks Laws

In response to an uptick in illegal fireworks use and neighbor complaints, the Bureau of Police reminds residents that it is illegal to set off fireworks from public property or within 150 feet of an occupied structure and has zero tolerance for illegal fireworks usage.  

The Police Bureau is committed to stepping up patrols and will take a zero tolerance stance with those illegally setting off fireworks. These actions put our neighbors and homes at risk of injury and fires. Please contact 717.664.1180 to report the illegal use of fireworks.  

Last week during Mayor’s Neighborhood Week, the City hosted neighborhood meetings in each quadrant of Lancaster City. Fireworks, and the danger and disturbance they cause, were a key concern for residents across neighborhoods.  

A change in Pennsylvania state law in 2017 that permitted the sale of various consumer-grade fireworks has instigated the problem of excessive, illegal use of fireworks. 

The PA House and Senate approved and Governor Wolf signed into law Act 43 of 2017 (House Bill 542). Act 43 repealed the Fireworks Act of 1939 and left Lancaster and cities like it vulnerable to the dangers of consumer grade fireworks. The changes made to fireworks laws in Pennsylvania were part of an effort to increase state revenues and when HB 542 was adopted it was estimated to increase the state’s tax revenues by nearly $10 million a year. None of that new revenue will come to cities like Lancaster, but residents have to deal with the noise and the risk of fire and injury that come with the nightly use of these fireworks.  

To learn more about fireworks laws in Pennsylvania and to contact your state legislator, go to