Offers tips to county residents

Staff Report, Alice Echo-News Journal

As Independence Day celebrations are approaching, the Alice Fire Department is again asking everyone to be careful and reconsider their use of fireworks this season.

Despite receiving significant rainfall in the past few weeks, any careless use of fireworks can have the potential to start a fire or cause an injury, fire officials said.

"Fireworks can be dangerous and unpredictable if improperly used," Fire Marshal Patrick Thomas said. "It's also illegal to possess or discharge fireworks inside the city limits."

The Alice Code of Ordinances section 31-72 reads that it is unlawful to possess, store, sell, use or explode any firework within one mile of the city limits.

Officials will be out enforcing the city code and state laws regarding fireworks this year, Thomas said.

Violators will be cited and fireworks will be seized. Violations of the city code are a class C misdemeanor.

"I want to remind residents that fireworks will not be tolerated in the city this year, so if you purchase them, keep them in the county and pop them out there, too," Thomas said. "Don't bring them into the city."

During New Year's Eve celebrations, there were more than 20 cases documented regarding the illegal use of fireworks in the city limits, Thomas said.

Citations were issued and fireworks were confiscated and destroyed.

"I hope everyone is safe and careful this year," Thomas said.

Anyone with questions regarding fireworks is welcome to contact Thomas at his office at City Hall at 668-7258.

FIREWORKS SAFETY TIPS

If fireworks are legal where you live, and you decide to celebrate with fireworks, follow these important safety tips:

Always read and follow label directions. Have an adult present. Buy from reliable sellers. Use outdoors only and on a flat surface away from buildings and dry leaves and grass. Always have water handy (a garden hose and a bucket). Never experiment or make your own fireworks. Light only one firework at a time. Never re-light a "dud" firework (wait 15 to 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of water). Never give fireworks to small children, even sparklers can cause serious burns. If necessary, store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Dispose of fireworks properly by soaking them in water and then disposing of them in your trash can. Never throw or point fireworks at other people. Never carry fireworks in your pocket. Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers. The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the firework. Stay away from illegal explosives. Don't wear loose clothing.

Source: Alice Fire Marshal