OTTUMWA — Many people travel to Missouri to purchase fireworks, where they may be bought and used legally. However, they can get into trouble if they light them in Iowa or possess them within the city of Ottumwa.
Iowa law makes it illegal to use or sell fireworks and Ottumwa City Code prohibits the possession of consumer fireworks. Possession and use of illegal fireworks are punishable by a fine up to $500. Sparklers, snakes and caps used in toys are the only allowable types of fireworks in Ottumwa.
The use of most consumer-grade fireworks have been outlawed in the state since 1938, following a fireworks-sparked wildfire that burned nearly 100 buildings in downtown Spencer.
The City of Ottumwa's Independence Day public fireworks display will be held shortly after sunset on Friday, July 4, in Ottumwa Park. The annual professional fireworks show is a local tradition and draws many onlookers from around the area. Ottumwa police officers will be working at the public fireworks display, seizing illegal fireworks and charging those found to be in violation.
On the evening of the display, traffic on the Wapello Street Extension will be restricted to right turns only coming in and out of Ottumwa Park. Left turns crossing the median will not be allowed. The rain date will be Saturday, July 5.