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State Fire Marshal Warns About Hazards Of Illegal Fireworks

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Leave the fireworks to the professionals. That’s the message from the Maryland fire marshal as we get ready to celebrate our country’s birthday.

Andrea Fujii has the story.

It’s tradition to mark the fourth of July with fireworks. But at a fireworks demonstration, the state fire marshal warns what could happen if illegal fireworks get in the wrong hands.

“It is a reason to celebrate, but one quick act can just ruin all of that instantly,” said William Barnard, state fire marshal.

Nine thousand people a year are injured by fireworks around the country. Half are under the age of 21.

“Explosive injuries like this do a lot of damage to your hand,” said Dr. Raymond Wittstadt, Union Memorial. “They usually remove parts of your fingers, fracture fingers.”

Fireworks are not legal in Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. If caught, fines range from $250 to $1000.

Most the rest of the state can use sparklers and novelty items, but rockets and explosive devices are banned.

Don’t go out-of-state to Pennsylvania or South Carolina or somewhere else to bring the product in because then you could run afoul with the law,” Barnard said.

Firefighters also worry because it’s been a dry season. Last year fireworks caused 31 fires in Maryland.

The fire marshal hopes Marylanders will instead enjoy the hundreds of free fireworks shows across the state because the risks of doing it yourself is too high.

To find out what fireworks are legal where you live, click here.

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