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Sparklers Sold in Neighboring Counties Worries Syracuse Deputy Fire Chief and Doctor

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John Smith, WAER News

The skies of Central New York will be lit up over the holiday weekend with fireworks displays.  A local doctor and fire official are worried about children getting burned with hand-held sparklers.  Even more so this year because they say the sale of sparklers in Cortland and Madison counties is legal during the holiday time.  The State allows each county to decide if they can be offered for sale. City of Syracuse Deputy Fire Chief Steve Cavuto says kids under the age of 5 get injured by sparklers.

“If a sparkler can burn at 1,200 degrees and water boils at 200 degrees; you wouldn’t give a 3 year-old a pot of boiling water. Wood burns at 575 (degrees), you can melt glass 1,200 degree toy.”

  A Burn Surgeon at Upstate University Hospital hasn’t seen many kids come into the ER in recent years during the Independence Holiday. Dr. Joan Dolinak attributes that that to the fact sales of sparklers were previously illegal in the State. Even though sparklers are still banned for sale in Onondaga County, she fears they might be handling more cases this year because of sales in neighboring counties. Dolinak hopes parents won’t buy them at all, however...

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Credit John Smith, WAER News
A sparkler is displayed by Dep. Cheif Steve Cavuto.

“If you do use sparklers, you’re prepared. You don’t hand the kids several sparklers at once. They don’t carry around sparklers in their pockets or in the pockets of t-shirts… there’s no chance that they could get accidentally lit.”

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Listen to Upstate University Hospital Burn Surgeon Joan Dolak discuss the dangers of sparklers for kids, teens and adults.

The doctor thinks fireworks are best left to the experts and, even then, sometimes they suffer burns, she says. Young Explosives Corporation based in Rochester have been putting on fireworks displays since 1949. Owner Jim Young doesn’t find an issue with sparklers being sold to the public in some counties to responsible adults.

“If it’s within people’s capability in a sober, adult way to do a few sparkling devices. I don’t think they throw sparklers at each other and things like that. So, I think enough of the consumer product that maybe could injure people or do some stuff is not available right now. So, I think what they have right now is probably fine.”

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Credit John Smith, WAER News
An evidence bag of illegal fireworks.

Young’s company will be putting on 100 fireworks displays over the next few days including Fulton and Oswego.
 
In terms of people putting on their own fireworks displays, Deputy Chief Cavuto with the Syracuse Fire Department says it's illegal. He says in 2010 and 2011 it caused house fires. In one case he recalls that a neighbor actually lost their home. Cavuto says about 9 people die each year due to the use of sparklers or fireworks that are handled carelessly. Because the 4th of July falls on a weekend, he expects even more emergency calls. If neighbors see people setting off fireworks, Cavuto encourages people to report them to City Police.

 
"Your neighbor having a good time can burn your house down."