Caution urged for fireworks use on July 4

June 28, 2012 3:37:11 PM PDT
It may be hard to believe, but the Fourth of July is just a week away. Last year at this time, firework stands were shut down because of our drought. We're out of it now, and stand owners couldn't be happier, but they're not the only ones.

Every teenager helping to sell fireworks at this stand plays in their high school band. For their parents who depend on a portion of fireworks proceeds for band fees, the opening of fireworks season is a boon.

"I have two kids in band now, so I have double the fees, so this has really helped us to be able to afford for our kids to participate in band," said parent Heath Hampton.

But the availability of fireworks is always a delicate balance. The Houston Fire Department is quick to point out that all non-professional fireworks are banned within city limits.

"Fireworks are completely banned within the city limits. It is illegal and the fines are pretty heavy. Fines are anywhere from $500 to $2,000 per fireworks incident," said Capt. Ruy Lozano with the Houston Fire Dept.

HFD wrote several dozen such citations last year, even though a drought caused all fireworks sales to be banned even in the county. There is no county ban this year, but caution remains.

"Even though we are not in a drought situation like we were last year, you still have to be very careful about where you shoot fireworks. Shoot them always in an open area, on level ground; don't shoot them towards woods, towards houses," said Sue Davis with Top Dog Fireworks spokesperson.

Fireworks sales can continue until midnight on July 4th. And if you do decide to participate, some have a word of caution.

"You got to remember that fireworks can be dangerous, you have to be careful around children and around pets," said Capt. Lozano.

You have to be older than 16 years old to sell fireworks at the stands. A lot of local organizations work with the fireworks stands to make money for their organizations.

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