‘Leave It To the Pros,' Fort Worth Fire Department Warns Residents About Dangers, Costs of Fireworks

As summer officially kicks off, the Fort Worth Fire Department is wasting no time reminding residents about the dangers of fireworks.

The personal use of fireworks is illegal in Fort Worth, as well as many other cities across North Texas, yet local hospitals continue to see patients with serious burns and other injuries caused by them.

"Go watch the [professional] fireworks shows put on by your local municipality -- seriously," said Dr. David Smith, Trauma Medical Director for Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth.

Nationwide, more than 12,000 people are hurt each year by fireworks. Smith said while the larger aerial fireworks cause the most severe injuries, it's the small, seemingly harmless sparklers that are responsbile for the most emergency room visits.

"The temperature of a sparkler can reach 2,000 degrees," said Smith. "That's hot enough to melt glass. And who are the people we give sparklers to? Little kids."

Injuries aren't all they're concerned about. The Fort Worth Fire Department said it tends to stay very busy around the 4th of July, responding to structure fires caused by fireworks -- another key reason they're not allowed within city limits.

"Fireworks don't react the same way every time," said Brad Sims, an investigator with the Fort Worth Arson / Bomb Squad. "Their quality control is not such that you can count on a firework that shoots straight up always shooting straight up -- especially when you're talking about consumer grade fireworks. And I've seen this personally."

Fort Worth's police and fire departments will have extra crews patrolling neighborhoods during the 4th of July weekend looking for people shooting off fireworks illegally.

They've also set up a hotline residents can call to report any illegal firework activity. That number is 817-392-3000.

Violaters can be charged with a class "C" misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine up to $2,000.

To see where you can watch fireworks across North Texas -- click here.

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