Fireworks are devices consisting of a combination of explosives and combustibles, set off to generate colored lights, smoke, and noise for amusement. The explosives or combustibles are used for display.
Of ancient Chinese origin, fireworks evidently developed out of military rockets and explosive missiles and accompanied the spread of military explosives westward to Europe in the Middle Ages.
In force-and-spark compositions, potassium nitrate, sulfur, and ground charcoal are used; additional ingredients produce various types of sparks.
In flame compositions, such as the stars that shoot out of rockets, potassium nitrate, salts of antimony, and sulfur may be used. For colored fire, potassium chlorate or perchlorate is combined with a metal salt that determines the color. Rockets are lifted by recoil from the jet of fire thrown out by the burning composition.
Fireworks must be purchased from a licensed and state-approved vendor. Not all counties allow fireworks to be sold even by a licensed vendor. If fireworks are purchased from a vendor, then they are illegal if shot or lit within the city limits of Oak Ridge. All homemade fireworks are prohibited. Anyone causing a fire by the discharge of fireworks shall be responsible and liable for any damage to the life or property of others.
Firecrackers, bottle rockets, Roman candles, spinners, snakes, whistlers, M80s, mortars, and rockets are just a few of the most commonly sold products for personal use. None of these can be lit within the city limits of Oak Ridge. Essentially, if you need a match or lighter to ignite the product, then it is most likely classified as a firework.
There is also a commercial-grade fireworks sold, but is generally sold to companies with a state license to display fireworks. For instance, the city has contracted with Pyro Shows to provide, set up, and shoot the July 4 fireworks show. The display had to be permitted through the Tennessee Fire Marshal’s office 30 days in advance and signed off by the fire chief.
The commercial-grade fireworks are not generally available to the general public unless the person is licensed by the state of Tennessee and meets all the requirements for transport and storage of the product.
Some quick-marts sell the handheld party poppers. These and the small one-inch diameter smoke bombs sold at local stores and markets are not considered fireworks.