• 72°

Fireworks fun hinges on safe use

Celebrating the New Year and fireworks seem to go hand in hand.

Both Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal and Bogalusa fireworks retailer Stephen Genco offered suggestions for having a safe and accident-free New Year’s celebration.

Shooting fireworks is legal throughout Washington Parish. Retailers are licensed through the state and receive their permits through the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office.

State law dictates retailers can only sell fireworks during this time of year from Dec. 15 to Jan. 1 at midnight.

“Fireworks are totally legal in the parish,” Seal said. “We have no problem with fireworks at all in Washington Parish.”

Seal said approximately 10 to 12 firework stands are currently operating in the parish.

“Children need only to shoot fireworks under the supervision of an adult,” Seal said. “Another suggestion would be to never light fireworks in your hand. Always respect things that are explosive. Always wear eye protection when shooting fireworks, and never throw them at another person.”

Genco owns Magic City Fireworks Inc. and has four locations around the parish.

“It is a highly regulated industry,” Genco said. “We pay sales tax, and we’re all trying to get our market share.”

Genco also had some suggestions when it came to using fireworks.

“I would like for everybody who shoots fireworks to use a little caution,” Genco said. “Always light fireworks from the side and don’t ever stand over them.”

Genco has been in the business for approximately 40 years.

“Fireworks can be fun and safe if used properly,” Genco said. “Anything can be dangerous if used improperly. If fireworks are misused, that’s where the danger comes in.”