Friday, October 24, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;49.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/ra.png;2014-10-24 07:59:15
Saturday, July 5, 2014

NH fire officials brace for holiday injuries, fires

CONCORD – New Hampshire fire officials are braced this holiday weekend for the fires and injuries that typically result from people buying and setting off their own fireworks.

Belmont Fire Chief David Parenti, who heads the New Hampshire Association of Fire Chiefs, said people are often drinking and careless when setting off the potentially lethal pyrotechnics. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

CONCORD – New Hampshire fire officials are braced this holiday weekend for the fires and injuries that typically result from people buying and setting off their own fireworks.

Belmont Fire Chief David Parenti, who heads the New Hampshire Association of Fire Chiefs, said people are often drinking and careless when setting off the potentially lethal pyrotechnics.

“You have a lot of people enjoying themselves for the holiday weekend, and not necessarily being careful with fireworks,” Parenti said.

He and state fire marshal Bill Degnan say an accident on a Pelham deck two years ago that sent 13 people to the hospital –
five of them children – remains the worst in New Hampshire in recent history.

Degnan said that accident happened when a “spinner” sparking firework bounced off the roof of the house and dropped into a box containing more than 300 reloadable mortar-style fireworks on a back deck. Those injured during the explosion were either standing on the deck or on an adjacent three-season porch.

The sale of fireworks is legal in New Hampshire, but some municipalities have chosen to ban them. Prominent among them are the Lake Winnipesaukee shoreline communities of Alton, Gilford and Wolfeboro. Nashua, Salem and Berlin are among the larger municipalities that also ban fireworks.

Other communities, such as Newbury, require consumers to get a local permit.

It is illegal in New Hampshire to possess and sell certain fireworks, such as bottle rockets and smoke bombs. But Parenti said they’re abundant nevertheless because people order them online.

New Hampshire State Police Sgt. Sean Haggerty, commander of the explosives, permits and licensing unit, said the state has 24 authorized fireworks retailers and 131 licensed display shooters who can orchestrate and ignite the big shows.

Haggerty said 64 large fireworks displays were scheduled from Wednesday through Sunday.

The most – 32 shows – were scheduled to take place on the Fourth of July, including one at Weirs Beach in Laconia that was scheduled to begin one minute after midnight. Some communities shifted their displays around in anticipation of stormy weather.

“The display shows are regulated, inspected, professional – so people can enjoy those shows in a safe environment,” Haggerty said. “Backyard shows are just that. They can be dangerous if all the safety requirements aren’t met.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated in a report last month that fireworks-related injuries sent 1,400 people to emergency rooms nationwide last year. Children younger than 15 accounted for 40 percent of the injuries, according to the report.

Most states allow some or all types of consumer fireworks.

The four that ban them altogether are Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Delaware.