Officials warn of fireworks’ dangers

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Family, fun and fireworks are hallmarks of the Fourth of July holiday.

But, used the wrong way fireworks can cause big trouble for your family and ruin the fun.

For families putting on a display, Mark Schell, the assistant fire marshal of Durham County, says be careful.

“If you’re handing off a sparkler to a toddler or a little child, you need to be all over that because they can very easily get burned,” said Schell. “You can’t undo the pain and trauma from a burn.”

If you’re participating in the Fourth of July tradition, putting on a fireworks display, Schell wants you to use caution.
He says one of the most important tips is to purchase fireworks from licensed tents because they pass the state standard. You have no idea what you’re getting when you buy illegal fireworks.

“There’s not necessarily quality control involved,” he said. “It could be something where you light the fuse and it immediately explodes and you don’t have time to get away from it and that would be a needless tragedy.”

For the past 10 years, Steffen Levine’s family has put on a fireworks competition.

“We see who can blow the biggest thing up every year,” said Steffen. “We all bring bombs, and make our own bombs out of the fireworks and see who can make the biggest bang.”

But, he says there was one incident that injured a child standing nearby.

“It was a short fuse. It was a mistake but he ended up fine, just a little ringing in his ears.”

Steffen says, now, all the kids keep their distance but still enjoy the show.

“We only let the adults come anywhere near the fireworks and the displays,” said Steffen. “Whenever anything’s going to be lit, the kids are nowhere near. They are 100 yards away and still able to watch, so it’s still fun.”

If you do buy fireworks, the assistant fire marshal says it’s legal to set them off any day of the year.

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