Fireworks are fun, but caution is always urged

Published 6:26 am Saturday, July 2, 2016

The Fourth of July is synonymous with celebrations.

Families and friends gather around a grill, along a parade route and, often, in the yard, after dusk, setting off small, colorful explosions.

On Friday, Amy Cotton was with her granddaughter, 2-year-old Aneiyah Jordan and her son, Logan Jordan, picking out fireworks at Genco’s Fireworks warehouse on Highway 21, making plans to participate in that nighttime tradition.

Cotton said the fireworks will be a first for her granddaughter, who lives in San Diego, Calif.

“It’s all new for her,” Cotton said.

Cotton’s family bought some sparklers, a fountain cone and some smoke bombs.

“Everyone likes smoke bombs,” she said.

Regardless of the type of firework, however, experts urge caution.

According to the federal government’s Consumer Product’s Safety Commission, each day in the month surrounding the Fourth of July holiday, about 230 people end up in an emergency room due to fireworks-related injuries.

And of those, about 35 percent are kids under the age of 15.

Those injuries can range from eye injuries to skin burns, and the commission urges parents to prohibit allowing children to set off firecrackers. They point out that even sparklers can cause burns.

Besides bodily injury, there’s also the threat of structure fires.

Bogalusa Fire Chief Richard Moody said pine straw can collect on rooftops and stray sparks or a misplaced firework can set the whole thing ablaze without much difficulty.

“We try tell them to be careful,” Moody said. “We have had several structure fires here. So we try to tell people to make sure they’re in an open area and not next to anything.”

The Consumer Product Safety Commission also suggests that anyone who shoots off fireworks have a hose or a bucket of water on hand. In addition, they advise people to light the firework and then back away.

The Genco warehouse has hundreds of square feet of explosives, some costing a few cents to a large case of fireworks labeled “The Godfather” fetching $600.

The fireworks warehouse is just south of Bogalusa — fireworks are illegal inside the city limits — and Caitlyn Turner, an employee of the warehouse, said they carry the popular models.

“A lot of people at the stands, they sell the Frick and Frack Fountains,” she said, referring to a popular firework fountain.

Turner said she personally prefers the Jaw Dropper, which shoots flames skyward.

But whatever the taste, the large warehouse should be able to accommodate any taste leading up to the Fourth of July.

On Friday, she was seeing only a trickle of customers. It was a slow, hot day.

But like the fireworks themselves, she expects weekend sales to get hotter.

“It always does,” she said.