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Fireworks: If It Goes Boom, it's Illegal in Illinois

Fireworks and the Fourth of July may go hand-in-hand, but Illinoisans are being reminded to follow the law when celebrating Independence Day on Friday.

While you may hear blasts coming from a neighbor's yard, most fireworks are illegal in Illinois. State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis says that includes firecrackers, bottle rockets and Roman candles.

"Anything that goes boom is illegal in the state of Illinois," says Matkaitis. "We know they're brought in from other states. Some of the stuff coming in is just too heavy, and shouldn't be out there."

Novelty items such as sparklers, snappers and smokers are allowed, but Matkaitis cautions that doesn't make them safe. Sparklers can reach 1,800 degrees at the peak of a burn. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in the weeks surrounding the July 4th holiday about 200 people visit emergency rooms every day with fireworks-related injuries.

Matkaitis says the safest route is to leave it to the professionals and attend local, licensed and approved fireworks displays where proper safety precautions are in place. But he adds not everyone heeds the warnings.

"A couple of years ago a guy in northern Illinois had a misfire," explains Matkaitis. "He'd been doing it for years at his farm, but he walked up to a mortar and it went off, hit him in the chest and killed him."

Violators of fireworks laws in Illinois can face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

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