OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU) - For thousands of people, Independence Day will result in fire as illegal fireworks take their annual toll across California and the nation, all of which is an unnecessary tragedy.
For thousands of people across the nation, Independence Day results in the unnecessary tragedy of fire from illegal fireworks.
The most recent, reliable national statistics from the National Fire Prevention Association and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, present a gruesome picture of fireworks on and about the 4th of July.
In 2013, fireworks were responsible for 15,600 fires; 14,000 of them outdoor fires. Last year, that number increased to 18,000 fires. 1,400 of those were structure fires and 200 were vehicle fires. About half of the fires reported on the Fourth of July were caused by fireworks.
There is also a pretty significant human toll. In 2014, 35% of the patients seen in emergency rooms June 20 to July 20, 2014 were under age 15; 9% were under five. More than half are from burns. Some 10,000 people are hospitalized each year after Fourth of July fireworks injuries, by a total annual cost of more than $100 million. By far, sparklers cause the most injuries, 28%. Consider that at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit, a sparkler is six times hotter than boiled water, more than twice as hot as wood burns, and 300 degrees higher than molten glass.
Mere possession of illegal fireworks, including firecrackers, sky rockets, and bottle rockets, roman candles, aerial shells; anything that explodes, flies, moves along the ground can lead to a $50,000 fine and jail time. If you hurt somebody, it’s much worse.