Fire Officials Urge “Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals"
State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan and Wellesley Fire Chief Rick DeLorie, president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts are urging everyone to “leave the fireworks to the professionals” this holiday season.
“Only licensed professionals are allowed to use fireworks in Massachusetts at displays supervised by local fire departments for safety,” said State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan. “There is no such thing as a safe or sane firework, and even the State Police Bomb Squad handles illegal Class C fireworks as if they were improvised explosive devices.”
"The fourth of July holiday is a busy time for firefighters making sure the professional displays are conducted properly and are safe for the public; we’re busy responding to all types of fires and medical emergencies,” said Chief DeLorie. “In fact, July 4 is the busiest day for fires after Thanksgiving and Christmas,” he added.
60% of Fireworks Victims under Age 25; 14% under Age 5
Children and youth are the most common victims of fireworks injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that 60% of those injured by fireworks are under age 25 and 14% are under age 5. Children know where adults keep their fireworks and will imitate adults thinking they can do so without injury. Children have no idea how sensitive fireworks are to heat, shock and friction. They do not know how unpredictable bottle rockets are, that sparklers burn at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit, or how quickly a lit firecracker in their hand can explode. Set a good example and leave the fireworks to the professionals.
Foy Family Tells Story of Pelham, NH Fireworks Incident
The most significant fireworks incident last year occurred just over the border in Pelham, NH. Nearly a dozen people were injured when the fireworks stored on a back porch for a private display were ignited by errant fireworks. Many of the victims, including five children, were treated in Massachusetts hospitals. Watch this video of the parents of one these children tell about their horrific experience. Patrick and Marci Foy, and their daughter, Olivia, were injured while attending a family celebration, and were among a dozen people hurt. They share their personal story and talk about how this horrific incident continues to impact their lives.
In the past year in Massachusetts, the illegal use of fireworks caused several terrible incidents despite our best efforts to educate the public.
- On March 20, 2014 the Abington Fire Department responded to a fireworks explosion in an apartment complex. A youth’s hand was amputated and a 31-year old man was injured when consumer grade fireworks exploded inside his apartment.
- On April 12, 2014, the Norton Fire Department responded to a 1-acre brush fire started by fireworks.
- On June 29, 2014, the New Bedford Fire Department responded to a car fire caused by fireworks being transported in the vehicle. Damages to the car were estimated at $7,500.
- On July 5, 2014, the Peabody Fire Department responded to a fire in a mobile home that was started by fireworks. No one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries occurred. Fire damage was estimated at $10,000.
- On August 8, 2014, the Oxford Fire Department responded to a 2-acre brush fire started by fireworks. Thirty-seven firefighters from multiple departments fought the fire for six hours.
- On June 5, 2013, an 8-year old girl sat on a sparkler that ignited her dress. She received burns to 7% of her body.
- On July 3, 2014, in Dennis, a 47-year old man received burns to 30% of his body from fireworks. A mortar-style firework exploded and struck him in the chest.
- On July 4, 2014, a 36-year old Haverhill man received burns to his hand and abdomen when the fireworks he was holding exploded in his hand.
- On July 5, 2014, a 31-year old Chicopee man received burns to one of his hands. He was holding multiple sparklers when the flame burned all the way down to his hand.