Fire Officials Urge Public to Leave Fireworks to the Professionals

June 24, 2016

Last Fourth of July weekend, two members of the National Football League demonstrated just how dangerous fireworks can be. Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback C. J. Wilson was forced to retire from a promising football career after losing two fingers from fireworks on the Fourth of July weekend. That same weekend, Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul mangled his hand with fireworks. Both of these national athletes set a negative example for impressionable youth.

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said, “This year, set a good example for your children and leave the fireworks to the professionals this Fourth of July holiday.”

On July 5, 2015, a 9-year old boy from Boston received burns to 15% of his body surface area and lost one of his hands when the fireworks he was holding exploded in his hand. His 5-year old male friend was also injured.

Ostroskey said, “Children imitate adults. If you use fireworks, children will copy you, not realizing how very dangerous fireworks are.” Fifty-one percent of fireworks-related burn injuries reported by hospitals to the Office of the State Fire Marshal in the last 10 years (2006-2015) were to children under age 18. More than a quarter of the victims, (26%), were children under age 10.

In the past decade (2006-2015) there have been 775 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS). These 775 fires and explosions caused 11 civilian injuries, four fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $1.8 million. This is quite a substantial amount since most fireworks related fires are outside brush fires and do not usually have high loss figures.

The possession and use of all fireworks by private citizens is illegal in Massachusetts. This includes 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. Sparklers burn at 1800ºF. It is illegal to transport fireworks into Massachusetts, even if they were purchased legally elsewhere. Illegal fireworks can be confiscated on the spot.

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