Fireworks, fun don’t always mix

Published 8:52 am Tuesday, July 1, 2003

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- They are pretty to look at, but can also be dangerous.
That's why the City of Niles fire and police departments are encouraging everyone who plans to set off fireworks on Thursday July 3, to be careful.
Lt. Jack Frost with the City of Niles Fire Department, said to avoid accidents, people should take all necessary precautions before setting off any fireworks.
First of all that involves purchasing fireworks that are legal in Michigan, he said.
Frost said other precautions include making sure to set off fireworks in an open area away from buildings and cars, having a hose and a bucket of water close by, as well as a fire extinguisher.
Frost said to avoid grass fires anywhere, people should use a good hard board as a base to set off their fireworks from.
Last but not least, children should always be under the supervision of adults when setting off fireworks, Frost said.
He suggests parents use safety glasses and leather gloves, especially when lighting their fireworks.
Fireworks, however, sometimes have a tendency of not always going off as planned.
Frost therefore encourages people to wait for a little while before picking up fireworks that appears to not work properly.
Frost also said it's a good idea to put any used fireworks in a bucket filled with water to eliminate things catching fire.
Bill McAllister, a Niles City Fire Department driver, also offered a suggestion on how to deal with used fireworks.
Chief Larry Lamb, City of Niles Fire Department agrees buying fireworks legal in Michigan is the first step to avoid accidents.
But, he said people should also be aware even legal fireworks aren't always safe.
He strongly discourages anyone intending to set of the kind of fireworks illegal in Michigan.
He reminds people that several tragic accidents involving fire works have happened in this area over the last few years.
Although the fireworks legal in Michigan appear to be relatively safe, Lamb said even small fireworks can cause major fires.
To him, knowing that a small spark can turn into a major fire is always a concern.
With more explosive fireworks available right across the border in Indiana, the use of illegal fireworks is a problem in Michigan.
Captain Jim Merriman, Niles City Police Department, said officers will be on the look-out for illegal fireworks, especially on Thursday.
He said people who get caught with illegal fireworks risk having charges brought against them.
He encourages everyone to be safe, even if just setting off sprinklers.
But from previous experience, Merriman knows hospital emergency rooms will most likely be filled with people suffering from burns related to setting of fireworks.