Enjoy supervised professional fireworks displays
Local fire departments supervise fireworks displays all over Massachusetts. Unfortunately, children and adults continue to set off illegal fireworks that start fires and cause serious injuries to themselves and others.
Fireworks can be deadly
A 45 year old Gloucester woman died in a December 22, 2003 house fire when someone threw fireworks and ignited a Christmas tree in the living room. Three other people were injured. On May 20, 1997, a 26 year old man from Watertown was killed while he was lighting fireworks in a hallway. A 27 year old Framingham man was killed on July 4, 1993, when backyard fireworks exploded in his face. On July 4, 1992, fireworks fatally injured a 30 year old man on a Fairhaven beach.
All fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts (MGL c148 s39)
The possession and use of all fireworks by private citizens is illegal in Massachusetts. This included Class C fireworks which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks”. Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs, and more. Sparklers burn at 1800 degrees.
It is illegal to transport fireworks into Massachusetts, even if they were purchased legally elsewhere. Illegal fireworks will be confiscated on the spot.
Do not purchase fireworks through mail-order or online catalogs
The distribution of mail-order catalogs that clearly state that fireworks are illegal in some jurisdictions cannot be prohibited. State and local police regularly confiscate illegal shipments of fireworks into Massachusetts. Many unhappy consumers have lost both their money and the fireworks trying to circumvent the law.
Set a good example for children
Children imitate adults. If you use fireworks, children will copy you, not realizing how very dangerous fireworks are. Fifty-one percent of fireworks-related burn injuries reported by hospitals to the Office of the State Fire Marshal in the last 10 years (2005-2014) were to children under age 18. Twenty-two percent of the victims were children under age 10.
Fires caused by fireworks
In the past decade (2005-2014) there have been 785 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System. The incidents caused 11 civilian injuries, 4 fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $1.8 million, which is high considering most fireworks fires are outdoor brush fires.
- On March 20, 2014, the Abington Fire Department responded to a fireworks explosion in an apartment complex. A youth’s hand was amputated and a 31 year old man was injured when consumer grade fireworks exploded in his apartment.
- On April 12, 2014, the Norton Fire Department responded to a 1-acre brush fire started by fireworks.
- On June 29, 2014, the New Bedford Fire Department responded to a car fire caused by fireworks being transported in the vehicle. Damages to the car were estimated at $7,500.
- On July 5, 2014, the Peabody Fire Department responded to a fire in a mobile home that was started by fireworks. No one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries occurred. Fire damage was estimated at $10,000.
- On August 8, 2014, the Oxford Fire Department responded to a 2-acre brush fire started by fireworks. Thirty-seven firefighters from multiple departments fought the fire for six hours.
Burns caused by fireworks
In the past decade (2005-2014), 49 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burn injuries from fireworks (burns covering 5% or more of the body) according to the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System. Nearly two-thirds of the victims were children and youths under age 25. These victims are scarred for life.
- On June 5, 2013, an 8 year old girl sat on a sparkler that ignited her dress. She received burns to 7% of her body.
- On July 3, 2014, in Dennis, a 47 year old man received burns to 30% of his body from fireworks. A mortar-style firework exploded and struck him in the chest.
- On July 4, 2014, a 36 year old Haverhill man received burns to his hand and abdomen when the fireworks he was holding exploded in his hand.
- On July 5, 2014, a 31 year old Chicopee man received burns to one of his hands. He was holding multiple sparklers when the flame burned all the way down to his hand.
Source: FireFACTORS – Office of the State Fire Marshal, Massachusetts Dept of Fire Services