PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) The place is busier than a toy store on Christmas Eve.
“It’s just a tradition,it’s fun to blow stuff up,” says Jake Jones of San Diego. He and his family strolled out of the Phantom Fireworks store in Upland Delaware County Thursday night. The store is open nightly until 1am until July 4th.
Fireworks sales are a tradition in Pennsylvania but it also comes with a traditional controversy. Under a bizarre state law, stores can sell larger aerial fireworks in Pennsylvania. But Pennsylvania residents cannot buy or use them. You have to have an out of state license to purchase most fireworks.
“This row is a 500 gram repeater. The biggest you can purchase as a consumer,” says Phantom Fireworks manager Eric Gaughran as he walks around the store that’s filled to the ceiling with pyrotechnics ranging from $3 to $1,500.
There is a special “Pennsylvania Row” for residents to buy lower key legal sparkler fountain fireworks that are sold in WalMart and Target.
With the Upland location just off of I-95 he says customers have come from Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico. The parking lot is filled with vehicles with license plates from Connecticut to North Carolina. But none from Pennsylvania.
“We’re allowed to sell to any resident outside the state of Pennsylvania. We check everyone’s ID. You have to take them out of the state to use them,” says Gaughran.
“We’re really kind of wow the whole neighborhood this year,” says Treena Lombardo. She was traveling to Virginia for the weekend and made a stop to fill her car with well over $1,000 worth of fireworks.
Every year we stop at Phantom fireworks on the way down and pick up as much as we can fit in the car” she said.
In a little known law, Pennsylvania resident can apply for a personal backyard fireworks permit. But it must be signed off by local police.
It would allow larger fireworks and firecrackers. But for those from out of state, Pennsylvania has become a mecca for fireworks lovers. Especially
“Everything where we are from is illegal so we don’t get to do this kind of stuff. So I just want something that explodes,” said Jones.
Every state and municipality has it’s own set of rules. Police and fire officials urge everyone to be safe during the holiday weekend.