Sparklers sizzle out in Schenectady County


SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Just as we are coming to grips with the winter, a battle is brewing over a favorite summer pastime, yet again.

One local county will have to ban sparklers for a second time, thanks to a new state law.

Sparklers will be lighting up the skies in three and a half months.

One county thought the topic was behind them.

Now they have to revisit the issue if they want their ban to stick.

The move to ban sparklers in Schenectady County ignited a controversy that hasn’t sizzled out.

One year later, it appears legislators will have to go through the process once again.

A new state law allows the use of sparklers and small fireworks unless a county opts out.

Schenectady was the first county in the state to ban the novelties, which some argue dampens the fun on Independence Day.

“I just think it’s fun for the kids and if the adults are around, there shouldn’t be any reason why they are not allowed. They are allowed in other states, other areas of New York, but we can’t have them? It’s not really fair,” said Chelsea Sheldon, a Schenectady County resident.

Others see them as just too dangerous, as gateways to illegal fireworks.

Firefighters believe even small pyrotechnics are a safety risk.

“Anything that involves fire, anything with heat ignition, we consider that a potential fire danger. In the wrong hands, improperly disposed of can always cause a problem,” said Michael Gillespie, Assistant Chief of the Schenectady Fire Department.

“Because then they go on and buy the bigger ones. They think, ‘well if these are okay, let’s get something a little better than that,” said Kathy O’Connor, a Schenectady County resident.

As passion brews on both sides, some argue the use of sparklers should still be a choice.

“I guess I understand both sides, but I think a lot of it should just be parental intuition, your own intuition. If you are using them incorrectly, then you shouldn’t be allowed to use them,” said Jenna Fisher, a Schenectady County resident.

Both sides will have a chance to air their opinions for a second time.

Legislators will hold a public hearing on April 2nd.

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