Fireworks Accidents Spark Warnings

By: Valerie Lacy
By: Valerie Lacy

Jacksonville firefighters think fireworks sparked a blaze at an apartment complex.

A brand new Pompano Beach house burned to the ground, and a Tampa child suffered injury when another child stuck a firecracker in his pocket.

Bright lights and loud noises; they fascinate most of us, but for three Florida cities they may have burned some bad memories that can never be forgotten.

Already it's been a tragic holiday when you consider many of these are illegal.

LT Tim McCown of the Tallahassee Fire Department said, "Anything that leaves the ground or goes ‘bang’ is considered illegal. What is legal though is the snakes and poppers, the sparklers."

Head over the border and you'll find dozens of big bangs for your buck.

Driving to other states has become a popular pastime for Florida residents looking to light up the big one, but bringing them home is also illegal.

John Newland, a Tallahassee police officer, said, "You can't go to Alabama. You can't go up to south Georgia or anywhere and bring those fireworks back here or else it's a crime. You cannot do that."

Figures show that backyard use of fireworks and related injuries are increasing nationwide. From 1990 to 2003, roughly 85,000 U.S. children under age 19 were treated in emergency rooms for burns and other injuries from firecrackers, bottle rockets and even sparklers.

That's according to a study prepared for July's issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Most injuries occurred around the Fourth of July. While firecrackers cause the most injuries, sparklers accounted for almost half of last year's injuries to children younger than five.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates 10,800 children and adults were treated for fireworks injuries last year. Because of the dry weather lately the state fire marshal’s office wants to make sure the Big Bend stays fire free for the Fourth.


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