Officials urge firework safety

Published 10:13 pm Monday, December 30, 2019

As Pike County celebrates entering a new decade tonight, many local residents will want to cap the year off with fireworks displays.

However, it is illegal to purchase or set off fireworks within the Troy city limits.

For residents planning to shoot fireworks in the county, where it is lawful, Troy Fire Chief Michael Stephens said common sense goes a long way.

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“It needs to be away from any structure, away from any vehicles, anything like that,” Stephens said. “Mainly, they need to be shot away from other people. Everyone needs to get to a safe distance and adults need to be out there supervising. These are explosives that people are dealing with.”

Stephens said Troy has dealt with a structure fire in the last 15 years that was confirmed to be started by fireworks, and several others were possibly started by fireworks as well although no conclusive cause could officially be determined.

And Stephens said he can’t remember the last year that nobody was injured by a firework in Pike County.

“This is one of the nights I worry about most, especially about personal injury specifically to young people,” Stephens said. “We always have some type of injury somewhere that could have been avoided. If not something we respond to, it’s something the hospital has to deal with.”

Troy Police Chief Randall Barr said one concern is that people underestimate sparklers as a source of danger.

“They’re not going to explode in your hand, but they burn extremely hot – somewhere near 2,000 degrees,” Barr said. “A lot of folks look at sparklers as not being dangerous, but they can leave a scar that will last a lifetime. And children don’t know the danger. It’s up to us to make sure they don’t get hurt.

Other fireworks can leave even more serious injuries, Barr said.

“You could lose a digit or an eye, and that’s permanent,” Barr said. “An accident with fireworks can be tragic. We want everyone to enjoy the new year coming in, not dealing with a tragic injury.”

Stephens said fireworks should be shot a safe distance away from wooded areas as well and that adults should keep an eye on where fireworks are landing to ensure they do not start a grass fire.

If anybody does run into an issue while shooting fireworks, Stephens urges them to call 911 and get the help they need whether there is a fire or injury.