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Play it safe on the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is a time for patriotic celebrations and all things American.

Two of the biggest Fourth of July traditions — fireworks and grilling — both involve fire. Troy Police Department Fire Marshal Brandy Cox said with fireworks, it’s better to leave the excitement to the experts.

“Inside the city limits, the City of Troy has an ordinance against the sale and use of commercial fireworks,” Cox said. “You can do sparklers. That’s about all that is legal in the city limits.”

Cox said the Troy Fire Department recommended people attend the city’s annual Fourth of July and Fireworks Celebration on July 4 at 8:30 p.m. The main venue for the fireworks show is Veterans Memorial Stadium, but there are plenty of other locations around Troy University where the fireworks show will be visible.

Cox said that even though sparklers are legal to use in the city limits, they are still very dangerous. He said they burn at anywhere from 1,800 degrees to 3,000 degrees and can easily burn a person or start a fire.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, sparklers account for more than 25 percent of all emergency room visits for fireworks injuries. For children under five, sparklers accounted for nearly half of the estimated injuries.

“We leave the decision up to the parents if they want to let their children use sparklers,” Cox said. “But we ask them to be mindful that sparklers can burn and can set things on fire.”

Cox said one of the biggest fire threats during the Fourth of July weekend will be people firing up the grill to barbecue or grill burgers and hot dogs.

Cox said the two big dangers with grilling can easily be avoided. He said sometimes people will light their grill on the front porch or in a pavilion or other area with a roof in order to stay out of the sun, But, he said, if the fire in the grill gets out of control, it can easily spread to the roof. He said this is especially true if people leave their grill unattended.

Cox said leaving a grill unattended can easily lead to a fire getting out of control if the flames jump from a grill to a nearby flammable object. He encouraged people not to leave their grills unattended and to keep a water source — such as a hose or bucket — nearby in case the flames get out of control.