Play it safe around fireworks


July 1, 2010 at 2:01 a.m.

The wet ground outside the yellow Big Tex fireworks stand squished underfoot as people perused the Black Cats, sparklers and other items to ring in Independence Day with a bang.

As the Fourth of July draws nearer, people urge Crossroads resident to play it safe around fireworks.

Children should always have adult supervision and shooters should pay attention to warnings printed on product labels, said Reina Gonzalez, an operator for the Big Tex stand off U.S. Highway 59 South.

"It's just common sense," she said. "They're safe as long as you're careful."

Josh McGuire shoots fireworks off most years and said that, although he's never had problems, he's seen situations go bad. Once, in Austin, a firework came down on a home and began a fire.

"It was one of those hot summers, where everything was dry," said McGuire, who works in oil field production.

He said he hopes to shoot them off this year.

"You're safe as long as you're in the right area," he said. "Even if you're out in the country, you should still be careful. Make sure you aren't around any dry hay fields or residential areas."

It is illegal to bring fireworks into Victoria city limits, said John Bradley, the city fire marshal. And, this year, sparklers are included on that list of illegal items.

The change comes because classifications shifted this year. Sparklers, which last year teetered on the line as to whether they were technically fireworks, now fall into the category, he said.

Safety issues also came into play, he said, explaining people are injured by the glowing sticks each year.

About 16 percent of consumer fireworks injuries come from sparklers, which can burn people's hands and legs, Nancy Blogin, president of the National Council on Fireworks Safety, said in a council news release.

Area fire personnel will set up shop at Saxet Lake on Independence Day to allow Crossroads residents a safe place to shoot off fireworks, Bradley said.

It always pays for people to be mindful when handling the pyrotechnics, even ones that appear to be "duds," said Ron Pray, the Victoria County fire marshal.

But the region has something working in its favor this year, he said. The added moisture lowers the risk of accidental fires.

Moist conditions or not, he said fire crews will still keep an eye out for emergencies throughout the holiday weekend.

"We're all going to be ready," he said.



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