Fire Officials Urge the Public to Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals

“Last
year, several people lost fingers and suffered serious burns lighting off
illegal fireworks in Massachusetts,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J.
Ostroskey. “Thirty-four firefighters were injured when an errant firework
ignited a six-family building. Have a fun but safe Fourth of July and leave the
fireworks to the professionals,” he added.

Fourth
of July No Holiday for Firefighters

Needham
Fire Chief Dennis Condon, president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of
Massachusetts, said, “The Fourth of July holiday is a busy time for
firefighters. We are supervising the professional displays so that they are
safe for spectators and licensed operators; we are busy responding to all types
of fires and medical emergencies. In fact, the week of July Fourth is one of
the busiest times of the year for fires.”

State
Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said, “This year, set a good example for your
children. Just as children know where you keep the matches and lighters, they
know where you stash your illegal fireworks.” He added, “Children imitate
adults. If you use fireworks, children will copy you, not realizing how very
dangerous fireworks are.”

Fireworks
Cause Many Dangerous Fires

Last
summer, there were many fires, amputations and burn injuries from illegal
fireworks in Massachusetts. In the past decade (2009-2018), there have been 800
major fires and explosions involving illegal fireworks in Massachusetts[1].
These incidents resulted in 12 civilian injuries, 39 fire service injuries and
an estimated dollar loss of $2.5 million.

· On
June 25, 2018, people shooting fireworks in the street started a fire in a
six-unit Lynn apartment building. One ricocheted to the second floor porch and
ignited several items. The fire spread to the rest of the second floor and to
the third. Thirty-four firefighters were injured at this fire.

· On
July 2, 2018, the Worcester Fire Department was called to a fire in a
three-unit apartment building. The fire was started by fireworks igniting trash
in a first floor doorway.

· On
July 3, 2018, Dartmouth District #1 responded to a pier fire at Anthony’s
Beach. Crews discovered remains of many fireworks on and around the pier after
the fire was extinguished.

· On
July 4, 2018, the Agawam Fire Department responded to a brush fire started by
three juveniles who were using illegal fireworks.

· On
July 5, 2018, the Lynn Fire Department put out a car fire started by fireworks.

Fireworks
Injuries

In the
past decade (2009-2018), 38 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency
rooms for severe burn injuries from fireworks (burns covering 5 percent of more
of the body) according to the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System
(M-BIRS). Fifty-five percent of the victims were under age 25. Eighteen percent
(18 percent) were between the ages of 15 and 24; 8 percent were between the
ages of 10 and 14; 18 percent were between five and nine; and 11 percent were
children under five. The youngest victim was a six-month old boy. These victims
are scarred for life. In the past year:

· A
22-year-old man was seriously injured when roman candles were set off inside an
Amherst apartment.

· A
22-year-old was injured in Gloucester playing with sparklers.

· A
10-year-old boy was injured by illegal fireworks at a Marshfield beach on July
3, 2018. He was an innocent by-stander.

· A
man lost part of his hand when a firework he was holding exploded. The
explosion occurred in a Mansfield MBTA parking lot.

· The
Tewksbury Fire Department provided emergency medical care to a man who lost a
part of every finger on his right hand when a firework he was holding exploded.

· A
25-year-old Brockton man suffered injuries to his left hand when a “cherry
bomb” exploded.

· A
22-year-old Kingston man suffered injuries to his hands, face and stomach from
a firework.

All
Fireworks Are Illegal in Massachusetts

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 1,800ºF or higher. It is illegal to transport fireworks into
Massachusetts, even if they were purchased legally elsewhere. Illegal fireworks
can be confiscated on the spot.

For more information on
the dangers of fireworks, go to the Department of Fire Services webpage Leave
the Fireworks to the Professionals.

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Fire Officials Urge the Public to Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals

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