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Fire Officials: Don’t Risk Fireworks-Related Injuries, Go To A Public Display

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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It’s that time of year! As we get closer to the Fourth of July, fireworks are center stage.

Ron Matz reports the state fire marshal is reminding you that most fireworks in Maryland are illegal and in many cases they can change a life.

Fireworks are beautiful, but some can be dangerous.

“Most fireworks in Maryland are illegal. In certain jurisdictions some are allowed. In Baltimore City, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties all fireworks are illegal. In Howard and Harford counties and in the town of Ocean City no ground based sparkling devices are allowed. In the rest of the state, ground based sparkling devices are permitted,” said William Banard, Maryland State Fire Marshal.

Ground-based sparklers are legal in many places but not Baltimore City.

“Sparklers are dangerous. They look benign. The fire from sparklers is very hot and it can burn kids and start fires, and we don’t need that,” said James Clack, Baltimore City Fire Chief.

Nationwide, 40 percent of the fireworks-related injuries are to children under the age of 15.

“Fireworks and kids are not a good combination, especially younger kids entrusted with sparklers that burn at 1,200 degrees. It can burn an eye instantly. It’s hotter than a lit match, which obviously you wouldn’t give to a toddler,” said Dr. Dean Fiergang, pediatric ophthalmologist.

Fiergang says fireworks can cause permanent damage to the eye.

There are “very delicate tissues in the eye that don’t respond well to trauma and very hard to fix,” he said.

Luckily, Barnard says Maryland hasn’t had any serious fireworks related injuries recently.

“Here in Maryland we’ve been very fortunate. We’ve had only a few minor injuries in the last couple of years, nothing really significant. We’ve done very well here and we want to keep it that way,” Barnard said.

The fire chief’s message is simple. Enjoy a public display and take no chances.

“There’s no reason really for anyone to use or possess illegal fireworks. There are 101 more public displays this year than last,” said Jack Waldner, Maryland bomb squad commander.

“The good news from Baltimore City’s standpoint is we’ve got one of the best fireworks displays in the area. I’d encourage people to come to the Inner Harbor. It’s an expensive and extensive display. It’s much more impressive than a sparkler,” Clack said.

For a complete list of public fireworks displays in Maryland for the Fourth of July just click here.

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