Stay safe with fireworks this holiday season
July Fourth is a Busy Time for Firefighters
The Fourth of July is a busy time for firefighters. They are supervising professional fireworks shows and responding to all types of fires and medical emergencies. There may be fewer fireworks shows this year due to social distancing, but fire departments will still be very busy. In fact, the week of July Fourth is one of the busiest times of the year for fires. Firefighters, police officers, and medical professionals ask you to help us during this pandemic, and leave the fireworks to the professionals.
All Fireworks Are Illegal in Massachusetts
The possession and use of all fireworks by private citizens is illegal in Massachusetts. This includes Class C fireworks which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks.” Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs and more. Sparklers burn at 1800ºF.
It is illegal to transport fireworks into Massachusetts, even if they were purchased legally elsewhere. Illegal fireworks can be confiscated on the spot.
Do Not Purchase Fireworks through Mail-Order or Online Catalogs
Do not purchase fireworks by mail. Government cannot prohibit the advertising and sale of fireworks by mail, but police do confiscate illegal shipments of fireworks. Many consumers attempting to circumvent the law have lost both their money and their fireworks.
Set a Good Example for Children
Children imitate adults. If you use fireworks, children will copy you, not realizing how very dangerous fireworks are. Thirty-eight percent, (38%), of fireworks-related burn injuries reported by hospitals to the Office of the State Fire Marshal in the last 10 years (2010-2019) were to children under age 18. Twenty-five percent, (25%), were children under age 10.
Fires Caused by Fireworks
In the past decade (2010-2019), there have been 858 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS). The incidents caused 12 civilian injuries, 40 fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $2.9 million, which is high considering most fireworks fires are outdoor brush fires.
- On June 22, 2019, the Plainville Fire Department responded to a building fire in a trash compactor. Someone put fireworks down the trash chute and into the compactor. The fireworks ignited the trash.
- On July 2, 2019, the Taunton Fire Department was called to a fire in a single-family home. The fire began while the homeowner was building wooden racks to launch illegal fireworks from his deck. The racks surrounded him on the deck. One of the fireworks exploded and set off many other fireworks. The detonations ignited the deck.
- On July 3, 2019, the Randolph Fire Department was called to a fire at the Town Hall. The fire was started by fireworks on the roof. Damage from the fire was estimated at $50,000.
- On July 4, 2019, the Boston Fire Department was called to a fire in a 3-unit apartment building. The fire was started by fireworks on the front porch.
- On July 5, 2019, the Boston Fire Department was called to a fire in a three-unit apartment building. Neighbors reported that fire was started by fireworks. The fire began on the back of one building and extended to another 3-unit apartment building next door. Twenty people were displaced from their homes by the fires and damages were over $700,000.
- On July 5, the Salem Fire Department responded to a fire on a standalone dock caused by fireworks.
Burns and Injuries Caused by Fireworks
In the past decade (2010-2019), 37 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burns injuries from fireworks (burns covering 5% of more of the body) according to the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System (M-BIRS). Fifty-four percent of the victims were under age 25. These victims are scarred for life.
- On July 4, 2019, a 29-year old Charlton man received burns to 9% of his body and puncture wounds to his back from a fireworks explosion. State Police confiscated a large cache of illegal fireworks from his home.
- On July 4, 2019, a 28-year old Lynn man burned both of his hands while lighting fireworks.
- On July 5, 2019, a 16-year old male from Dartmouth received 1st- and 2nd-degree burns on the lower portions of his body from a fireworks explosion.
- On July 9, 2019, a 4-year old Boston girl grabbed a burning sparkler that someone else was holding and received burns to her left hand.
- On July 10, 2019, a 29-year old Rutland man received burns to his upper extremities from fireworks