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State Fire Commissioner issues fireworks advice

Charles McGarvey, acting state fire commissioner, urges those celebrating Independence Day to take the necessary steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and their property when handling fireworks.

McGarvey suggested never allowing children to play with any fireworks, including sparklers. He also suggested lighting fireworks one at a time and quickly backing away; never pointing or throwing fireworks; keeping a water source handy; never trying to relight a firework; dousing burned fireworks before picking them up; never using fireworks while consuming alcohol; remaining at a safe distance from large displays; and being sensitive of neighbors and pets, particularly military veterans.

National Fire Protection Association statistics show that fireworks start more than 19,500 fires per year and cause an average of $105 million in direct property damage.

State law regarding fireworks dictates that fireworks cannot be:

* Discharged or ignited on public or private property without permission

* Discharged from inside a vehicle or building

* Discharged within 150 feet of any occupied structure

* Discharged while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a controlled substance.

Local ordinances may include additional restrictions.