Beware the big show: Fireworks from SC can get you in trouble at home

Posted June 30, 2020 5:35 p.m. EDT
Updated July 4, 2021 2:22 p.m. EDT

— With many of the municipal fireworks shows canceled to keep crowds in check during the coronavirus pandemic, North Carolinians are headed south of the border to pick up supplies to put on their own holiday display. But fireworks purchased out of state can mean legal trouble back home.

Rochelle and Ronald Williams from Rocky Mount made the trip to South of the Border on Tuesday to pick up fireworks for their holiday blast.

"We get together, and we cook out. We enjoy family and shoot fireworks. It's good food, good folks, good fun," he said.

Andrew Katz, of Raleigh, said, "Independence Day is our family's favorite holiday." He and some others put in the cash to pick up a stash.

"I usually make the run down here and pick up a load of fireworks, and we put on a big, old show," he said.

Lola Jacobs, who manages a fireworks shop in South Carolina said some customers buy hundreds, even thousands of fireworks every year.

"They do it as a family," she said, "but they buy a lot of fireworks."

Some of the fireworks for sale in South Carolina are illegal in North Carolina. That includes Roman candles, bottle rockets and all fireworks which explode or are projected into the air.

Fireworks safety tips

Buy fireworks only from a reliable vendor

Do not make alterations to fireworks or try to make your own

Do not use your pockets to store fireworks, even for a few moments

Always store fireworks in cool, dry places

Only responsible adults should handle fireworks

If children are nearby, an adult should closely supervise them at all times

Never point or aim fireworks at property or people

Do not try to re-ignite any “dud” fireworks

Always keep a running hose or bucket of water close at hand, in case of fire

Legal fireworks in NC


Smoke devices






Novelty items which do not explode, fly, spin, or leave the ground

Illegal fireworks in NC

Roman candles


Aerial fireworks

Bottle rockets


All fireworks which explode or are projected into the air

Save yourself a fine

In North Carolina, fireworks customers must be at least 18.

It's not only illegal to set off some fireworks in the state, it's illegal to possess or transport them as well.

Any violation is a misdemeanor which carries a maximum $500 fine. Prosecutors enhance charges if the fireworks cause any physical damage to people or property. In these instances, there is a maximum six-month jail term.

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