Saturday, 2:15 PM
By Christopher Baxter, Globe Correspondent
Fireworks featured in flashy advertisements in catalogs and on the Internet may catch the eye, but they can also cause serious injuries, officials reminded the public today.
With the Fourth of July -- a time when many people feel the urge to set off fireworks -- a little more than a week away, officials demonstrated the power of even the smallest firecrackers at a press conference at Houghton's Pond in Milton. Several styrofoam dummies were charred, dismembered -- and in one case, completely destroyed -- by the explosions.
Stephen D. Coan, the state fire marshal, said there was no such thing as a “safe or sane” firework. Fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts without a license.
“If people order fireworks in catalogs or on the Internet, there is no legal way to receive them in the state,” he said.
Every year, fireworks accidents send more than 3,000 children under age 14 to emergency rooms nationwide, according to the state Department of Fire Services. In Massachusetts, 677 major fires and explosions -- totaling more than $1.5 million in losses -- have occurred in the past decade as a result of fireworks, the agency said.
More fires are reported on the Fourth of July in the state than on any other day of the year, said Lorraine Carli, a spokeswoman for the National Fire Protection Agency.
Common injuries include burns to hands, arms, legs, and the face; loss of fingers and hands; and eye damage, even blindness.
“Unfortunately, there are enough injuries to keep me in business full time,” said Raymond Wee, director of eye trauma at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary.
The group of police, fire, and hospital officials urged parents to set a good example for children by not purchasing or igniting recreational fireworks.
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