Fireworks are illegal in Illinois, but residents still driving to Wisconsin to get them


ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — It’s very easy for Illinois residents to cross the border into Wisconsin and buy fireworks, but anyone caught using the illegal devices could face hefty fines.

Mauricio Martinez drove from Gurnee to Beloit to purchase fireworks. He says the pyrotechnics are always a part of his family’s Fourth of July festivities.

“We’re enjoying it, now that we’re finished with COVID. It wasn’t the same last year,” he said. “We want to make sure this year we make up for last year and really enjoy it with the family.”

Cornellier Fireworks, at 105 Dearborn St, in Beloit, has been serving the community for 50 years. Employee manager Chanel Dietzman says there’s a theme for many of their customers.

Dietzman expects to be busy all weekend. “This year, it lands on a Sunday, so today and tomorrow…it’s usually around the 30th of first of July [that we start getting busy.]”

Some fireworks are legal in Illinois, like sparklers and poppers. Others are illegal, and can cause serious injuries.

“Most of the injuries that occur are burn injuries or actual tissue destruction, because of the explosive nature of fireworks to our hands and legs,” said Rockford Fire Division Chief Matthew Knott.

Knott says fire and police officers will be actively patrolling the streets of Rockford this weekend.

“The perception is that they’re not that big of a deal, perhaps. But, then again, it’s illegal. It’s illegal activity and it’s very disruptive to neighborhoods and people’s peace and quiet. We have great shows we encourage everyone to go to, instead of trying to create their own show,” Knott said.

In Rockford, fines start at $750 per violation.

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