Authorities warn of illegal firework shows in Rockford as 4th of July approaches

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The 4th of July holiday is just over a week away. For many neighborhoods, that means the evening skies will be full of amateur fireworks displays. However, local fire and law enforcement warn that self-made shows could end in a hit to your pocketbook–or worse.

Although launching them into the night sky may seem like the best way to celebrate, local experts say fireworks are more dangerous than many people realize.

“Fireworks, we really recommend leave these shows to the professionals,” explained Rockford Fire Division Chief Matthew Knott.

As COVID-19 cancels firework displays throughout the Stateline, local first responders say people should think twice about putting on their own show.

“In the state of Illinois, there’s regulations for public safety and concern. And they’re illegal, as far as fireworks go,” said Winnebago County Sheriff Gary Caruana. “And I know that bordering states do sell the fireworks. But to bring them here and shoot them off, they’re illegal.”

Chief Matthew Knott says that if you do launch fireworks in city limits, you could be subject to a fine up to $750.

“We’ve seen a spike of fireworks calls. We are going to be out and we enforce that. These are fines that are pretty significant,” Chief Knott added.

Besides being hit with a hefty fine, Knott says that launching fireworks is a dangerous activity that could lead to serious injuries.

“We see a lot of burn injuries, we see a lot of traumatic amputations, we see injuries to hands and faces. And unfortunately, we see a lot of injuries to children who are playing with these things or get inadvertently hit by them,” the chief added.

Even if your kids only stick with sparklers this year, experts say there are certain precautions to take to keep them safe.

“Some of the things we recommend is having a bucket of water or sand nearby where you can put those used ones away, and then just encourage everybody to just stay stationary and not to run around and not inadvertently trip and not inadvertently push that hot sparkler against somebody else,” Chief Knott added.

Knott says if you want to safely experience fireworks this Independence Day, many cities are live streaming or broadcasting their shows online.

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