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Monday, July 7, 2014

2 injured in Pelham fireworks accident

PELHAM – New Hampshire’s fire marshal is warning residents to exercise caution around fireworks after one man was seriously injured and a second person hurt in a July 4 accident in Pelham.

Authorities say a 24-year-old man suffered a severe hand injury and heavy bleeding when a reloadable mortar shell he was using exploded inside the tube. ...

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PELHAM – New Hampshire’s fire marshal is warning residents to exercise caution around fireworks after one man was seriously injured and a second person hurt in a July 4 accident in Pelham.

Authorities say a 24-year-old man suffered a severe hand injury and heavy bleeding when a reloadable mortar shell he was using exploded inside the tube.

The accident was reported to the Pelham Fire Department at 7:14 p.m. Friday. Rescue crews transported the man from 3 Indian Valley Road to a local hospital. He later was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for emergency surgery.

The accident, which is under investigation, came two years after a celebration at another Pelham home resulted in widespread injuries from a stockpile of fireworks.

Thirteen people – including five children – were burned, some seriously, when a large neighborhood fireworks display detonated prematurely at 40 Dodge Road on July 3, 2012.

Like Friday’s accident, the incident on Dodge Road also was the result of an explosion involving a reloadable mortar-style consumer firework, according to an announcement from Pelham Fire Chief James Midgley. The devices pose a risk of injury or even death because they require operators to be part of the “final assembly” of the firework before use, the fire chief warned.

With at least two fireworks accidents in Pelham’s recent history, Midgley and State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan urged New Hampshire residents Sunday to be extremely careful with fireworks, or to simply avoid using them and instead attend professional displays.

Across the United States, eight people died and an estimated 11,400 were injured by fireworks last year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The majority of injuries – about 65 percent – were concentrated in a 30-day period surrounding July 4.

The safety commission warned last month that the number of injuries has increased sharply since 2012, when roughly 8,700 fireworks-related injuries were recorded. Device malfunction and improper use caused most of the injuries.

In New Hampshire, residents must be at least 21 to purchase, possess or use fireworks. The devices only can be used in communities that don’t have local regulations prohibiting fireworks.

New Hampshire’s fire marshal reminded residents Sunday to follow safety instructions; wear protection for eyes, ears and hands; and keep spectators a safe distance away.

Additionally, the fire marshal warned residents to abstain from consuming alcohol while using fireworks, never hold the devices while lighting them and never attempt to reignite fireworks that fail to fire.

Jim Haddadin can be reached at 594-6589 or jhaddadin@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Haddadin on Twitter (@Telegraph_JimH).