METHUEN — City police are joining municipalities across the state in reminding folks that using fireworks is illegal in Massachusetts.

It is illegal to use, possess, or sell fireworks of any kind in Massachusetts, including Class C fireworks, which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks.” Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs and more. Residents are also prohibited from purchasing fireworks elsewhere and transporting them into the state.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, during the month surrounding the Fourth of July, approximately 280 people nationwide go to the emergency room seeking treatment for injuries caused by fireworks every day.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks are also the cause of 18,500 fires on average each year.

"It's illegal to set off your own fireworks in Massachusetts, and it's illegal to purchase them in another state and bring them into Massachusetts as well," Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said. "Residents who are found to be in possession of fireworks this Fourth of July will have those items confiscated by the Methuen Police Department. We're encouraging residents to have a safe and happy holiday, and to let the professionals handle fireworks."

This does not mean residents cannot enjoy fireworks displays over the course of the summer. However, Solomon recommends that residents only attend celebrations put on by a licensed professional to ensure safety.

Residents should also remember to: Watch fireworks displays from a safe distance; Call 911 if anyone gets injured by fireworks; Set a positive example for children by not using illegal fireworks; Be careful around even the smallest fireworks (sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees and could easily cause severe burns and injuries).

Anyone who has questions about fireworks or fireworks safety should contact the Methuen Fire Department at 978-983-8940.

Pancake breakfast set at Winnekenni Castle

HAVERHILL — Winnekenni Castle's annual July Fourth pancake breakfast is from 8 to 11 a.m. on Thursday.

Cost is $5 for children and $8 for adults and features pancakes, sausages, home fries, beans, juices, milk, coffee, tea and cocoa.

Children's activities include a coloring contest and decorated "anything-on-wheels parade." All entries in and parade line-up by 10:30 a.m. Prizes will be awarded.

Traditional lawn toys will be out on the field. The castle is located at 78 Castle Road within Winnekenni Park at 347 Kenoza Avenue (Route 110).

For more information, email or call 978-521-1686.

First-time homebuyer training offered

HAVERHILL — Community Action Inc. is offering its first time homebuyer education classes for area residents beginning Wednesday, July 10. Classes run from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Presidential Gardens Community Room, 140 Evergreen Drive, Bradford.

Participants will receive comprehensive information offered by housing professionals, including bank lenders, buyer/seller real estate brokers, housing attorneys, insurance agents home inspectors and credit counselors. Also information about mortgage pre-qualification, foreclosure sales, area affordable housing lotteries and services of a buyer broker, and down payment assistance programs and reduced interest loans.

A Massachusetts Homeownership Collaborative approved certificate is awarded after completion of the three-night course. The program is also approved by MassHousing. The dates for the course are July 10, 11 and 16. The cost is $60 per household. There are no income requirements to take the training. For more information, contact Richard Lynch at 978-373-1971 or Susan Collins at 978-317-8998.

Dance party planned

HAVERHILL — The Council on Aging will host a belated Fourth of July dance party from 12:30 to 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 11, at the Crescent Yacht Club, 30 Ferry St., Bradford. Entertainment will be provided by DJ George Whitehouse of A GoodTimes DJ, and lunch will be provided by the Chicken Connection. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $8 per person. No tickets will be sold at the door.

For tickets, contact Kathy or Rita at 978-374-2390.