Man pleads guilty over fireworks possession

EBENSBURG – A Lilly man is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to reckless endangerment for possessing an “extremely large amount” of fireworks.

The pyrotechnics were discovered in the home of James Decort, 40, when a constable was serving papers for a sheriff’s sale at Decort’s home last June and noticed them in the basement. The constable then notified state police.

Decort told police that he had them for sale, but he was not licensed to do so, according to a police affidavit. All told, he possessed one box of display fireworks classified as explosives by federal law and 76 boxes of consumer fireworks. The former require a license merely to possess.

Decort faced five other charges – including three felonies – ranging from risking catastrophe and selling federally illegal fireworks to disorderly conduct. These will be dismissed with the guilty plea.

The reasoning behind the reckless endangerment charge stems from the fireworks being stored near a heat source, Assistant District Attorney Jessica Aurandt said, which could have potentially sparked them.

Decort will also have to pay restitution for the removal, transportation and storage of the fireworks. These costs come to $3,161, Aurandt said.