CHIPLEY - The Chipley Police Department says it will have zero tolerance for illegal fireworks this July 4 holiday weekend.


CHIPLEY - The Chipley Police Department says it will have zero tolerance for illegal fireworks this July 4 holiday weekend.



The warning comes as the department attempts to prevent a repeat of last year's incident in the area of Anderson St. in which more than 200 individuals took part in a fireworks fiasco that included firing bottle rockets at police patrol cars and resulting in a bottle rocket breaking a Chipley Housing Authority apartment window.



"We're not trying to keep anyone from having fun," said Chipley Police Chief Kevin Crews. "We're simply trying to keep everyone safe."



Chipley Fire Chief Floyd Aycock reminds residents that under Florida law, only sparklers approved by the Florida Division of the State Fire Marshal are legal for consumer usage.



"If it explodes or leaves the ground, it's illegal," explained Chief Aycock. "But precautions are needed even with sparklers, which can reach temperatures up to 1,800 degrees. You should never try to re-light a 'dud' or play with any fireworks without adult supervision. Also, you should always use them in an open area, away from structures and wooded areas," he added



"If a fire starts from fireworks you are using, then you are responsible for all damages."



Chief Crews said his officers will be proactive in enforcing fireworks regulations.



"This year, if we catch you shooting fireworks, we will issue citations and giving court dates," he said.



The punishment for using illegal fireworks is up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.



Crews urges residents to consider alternative patriotic celebrations instead, such as the free fireworks display set to take place at dusk on July 4 at the Vernon Sportsplex, located on Moss Hill Rd.



"This display will be handled by professionals, so why not sit back and enjoy."