Local police gear up for busy weekend in many localities that ban fireworks


JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) — Fireworks are a staple of the Fourth of July weekend, but many residents, especially those living in the cities of Northeast Tennessee, will not be able to fire their own.

11 localities in Northeast Tennessee ban the use, sale or possession of fireworks.

Below is a list of cities, towns and counties that prohibit the use/sale of fireworks:

  • Abingdon
  • Bristol, Tennessee / Virginia
  • Elizabethton
  • Erwin
  • Johnson City
  • Jonesborough
  • Kingsport
  • Greeneville
  • Marion
  • Washington County, Virginia

You CAN shoot fireworks on personal properties within the county limits of the following:

  • Carter County
  • Greene County
  • Hawkins County
  • Johnson County
  • Sullivan County
  • Unicoi County
  • Washington County, Tennessee

These cities and towns allow the use of fireworks from personal properties:

  • Mountain City
  • Rogersville

In many localities, sparklers and other non-noise making small fireworks are legal, but the ones with large projectiles and big booms are not.

Jonesborough Police Chief Ron Street says the ordinance is in place because the devices can damage both person and property.

“You’re dealing with an explosive device that has black powder in it that could go off prematurely, could go off sideways,” Street said.

He says the fireworks could come down and land on residences or buildings and cause fires.

Still, demand exists for fireworks across the region. Granny’s Fireworks in Carter County, Tennessee expects demand to continue growth until the Fourth.

“Today’s the second, so it’ll double tomorrow and then it’ll double by the Fourth,” co-owner Robin Horner said.

Horner said he has also struggled to fully-stock his store. He said he ordered 12 shipping containers of fireworks last September, but has only received eight.

That has caused his prices to go up about 30%.

Shooting off fireworks in places where its illegal could hurt your wallet even more.

Chief Street said fines in Jonesborough range from $50 to $300 depending on the severity of the violation.

Several patrols will be out Friday night and throughout the weekend to look for violations of the firework ordinance and follow up on calls. Street expects a calm weekend, however.

Johnson City Police staged many cars outside Northside Elementary School to enforce Johnson City’s firework ordinance.

If you wish to report illegal fireworks, Street asks that you call the police department’s dispatch number, not 911.

Street says Jonesborough residents can enjoy legal fireworks at the town’s display on Sunday night at 10 p.m.

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