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Dover fire captain highlights firework dangers

| July 3, 2024

DOVER (WJER) (July 3, 2024) – Fire safety officials are sharing the usual advice for anyone planning to celebrate America’s birthday with a backyard fireworks display. 

Dover Fire Captain Joe Minocchi says the higher-powered that used to be illegal to set off in Ohio are extremely dangerous and should only be handled by sober adults at a safe distance from neighboring structures and onlookers with a bucket of water and hose nearby.

“Never hold ‘em in your hand if you’re gonna light them off. Always have a stable, flat base for them to be lit on so they can properly extend into the air and go off, and make sure you point them in a safe direction.

“Sometimes, you light one and it doesn’t go off. We used to always call that a dud. So we would always walk up to it, wait a little bit and then there were many times when just as you start to get closer it would end up going off. So if you have a firework that ends up being a dud, you want to make sure you cover it with water, soak it in water.”

The Ohio Fire Marshal’s Office reports 128 fire incidents from fireworks statewide last year including 22 residential building fires causing nearly $700,000 in damage; and the National Consumer Product Safety Commission says of the more than 10-thousand firework-related injuries treated across the U.S. in 2022, nearly half were to bystanders, many of them children.

“That’s why really we always recommend that you just leave the fireworks to the professionals because there is a lot to keep in mind and there’s a lot that could go wrong, and none of it is ever intentional but the last thing you want to do is catch your neighbors house on fire or catch their cars on fire.” 

Many local communities – including both Dover and New Philadelphia – have opted out of the law allowing Ohioans to use commercial-grade fireworks on the Fourth of July and certain other holidays. Minnochi says if you’re unsure, call your local police or fire department.

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