Starr Co. Cracking Down on Firecrackers, Violators will Face Charges

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RIO GRANDE CITY – Across the Rio Grande Valley region, people are preparing to celebrate New Years. 

Edgar Alfaro runs a firework stand just outside Starr County limits.

“It’s something that we like to do,” says Alfaro. “I know it’s going to get busier on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.”

This month, Starr County commissioners approved a ban on fireworks.

Skyrockets on sticks and missiles with fans are no longer allowed, for sale or for use. 

Alfaro explains they can be dangerous.

"The danger with this is you have to put it in a bottle. If the bottle is not on a flat surface it can easily fall off. And if you turn it on its side, so it’s going to fly to the side and maybe hit a car, house, a child, maybe a person.”

When you go searching for places to buy on your phone be aware the rules are different in each city.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS visited the Hidalgo County Fire Marshal's Office to see what goes in the Mid-Valley.

"For Hidalgo County, fireworks are allowed. We ask that you do it in a safe manner," says fire marshal investigator John Franz.

When it comes to lighting the fuse inside city limits, it’s a go in Weslaco but not in Mission, Pharr, McAllen or San Juan.

Last year, Los Fresnos became the first city in Cameron County to approve the sale of fireworks.

 Despite Starr County’s new ban, Alfaro says he’s pretty sure he’ll see customers crossing over county lines to pick up bottle rockets.

“I’m pretty sure they are going to come looking for it because they are very popular,” he said.

However, if they get caught, violators of the firework ban in Starr County face a Class C misdemeanor charge.

Starr County's new ban: 

Fireworks are allowed in unincorporated areas of Cameron, Willacy, and Hidalgo counties.

Cities that allow private use of fireworks:

Los Fresnos
Laguna Heights

Cities that do not allow private use of fireworks:

San Juan
South Padre Island
Port Isabel
Rio Grande City

If you do not see your city on the list above, you can contact your city's police department to find out what the rules are in your town. 

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