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Fire Marshal Warns Of Fireworks Hazards



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Fire Marshal Warns Of Fireworks Hazards

By Andrew Gorosko

To prevent incidents such as the near-tragedy involving fireworks that occurred last July 4 in the Riverside section near Lake Zoar, town fire officials are urging that residents attend professionally staged fireworks displays during the Fourth of July weekend instead of using fireworks themselves.

If residents must use fireworks to celebrate Independence Day, they should then only use the low-powered sparklers, which are allowed by state law, fire officials add.

Fire Marshal Bill Halstead and Deputy Fire Marshal Henry Stormer this week stressed that people may be seriously injured, or fatally wounded, by the illegal discharge of fireworks.

Last July 4, a Bridgeport man who was staging an illegal fireworks display in Riverside got much more than he bargained for when a large number of powerful fireworks positioned on a dock accidentally discharged, causing multiple simultaneous pyrotechnic explosions at ground level.

Several dozen people, who were watching the display at Waterview Drive on the Lake Zoar section of the Housatonic River, were aghast as the fireworks display suddenly, briefly ran amok, resulting in numerous 911 calls being placed to summon aid.

Stephen Audet of Bridgeport, who was launching the fireworks, was charged with illegal possession of fireworks and with first-degree reckless endangerment. Audet received minor burns and scrapes in the incident. Police have said Audet’s actions endangered his safety, that of spectators, and private property. Firefighters responded to the call.

Mr Halstead urged that residents not discharge fireworks that are banned in Connecticut.

Fire officials do not want to deal with another incident like the one that occurred last July 4 in Riverside, he said. People could have died in that incident, he stressed.

“We want everybody to be safe,” he said.

Besides personal injury, the illegal discharge of fireworks poses fire risks, he said.

Possessing fireworks such as M-80s and M-100s is illegal, constituting the felony known as illegal possession of explosives, Mr Stormer said.

The use of illegal fireworks and the consumption of alcohol in the presence of small children on the three-day holiday weekend add up to the potential for tragedy, Mr Stormer said.

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