Sheriff asks fireworks users to be careful

Published 1:54 pm Thursday, December 31, 2015

Another New Year’s Eve has come and gone, but the debate over the overall safety of fireworks lives on.

Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal and Bogalusa fireworks retailer Stephen Genco often preach on using fireworks safely. However, their pleas sometimes go unheeded and someone is injured as a result of fireworks.

Fireworks are legal to sell and shoot in the parish, but are illegal inside the city limits of Bogalusa. BPD Chief Joe Culpepper said the main thing for those using fireworks is not annoying neighbors where they will call for a complaint.

“Kids need to shoot fireworks with parental supervision above all,” Seal said Wednesday. “Kids need to set fireworks down and then light them. They’re not going to have any problems with fireworks if they’re done the right way.”

Seal offered more suggestions.

“Don’t put fireworks inside of anything metal and don’t try and make a bomb out of them,” Seal said. “Be cautious. We don’t want a fun time of the year to turn into a tragic time of the year.”

Genco operates four outlets in the parish. They include the Louisiana Highway 21 South location at the old Mack Grubbs Ford building, the Highway 21 North location behind Carolina One Stop No. 2 at City Limits Road, on Highway 10 at Country Fashions and at Travis’ Country Super Store on West 10th Street.

“We ask everyone to use precaution when using fireworks,” Genco said. “Always set the firework down when you light it. Never light anything in your hand. And don’t stand over it when you light it; light it at the side.”

Genco said that when used safely, fireworks can be enjoyed by the whole family.

“Fireworks can be a lot of fun provided they’re used properly,” Genco said. “When you abuse anything you’re going to have problems. Anything can be dangerous if you don’t use it properly.”

Culpepper cited an old ordinance when discussing fireworks in the city.

“Bogalusa has had an ordinance for 100 years against shooting fireworks in the city limits,” Culpepper said. “If we get a complaint, we’re going to shut you down. People need to be respectful to their neighbors. If there are no complaints, then you’re okay. There is a limit to some people’s patience.”