Don’t let a little loud fun grow out of control
Fireworks can be plenty of fun – explosions are exciting, and they can make a holiday extremely memorable. With all the bright lights, loud sounds, & feelings they evoke it’s easy to forget that fireworks can be dangerous and can put you in some legally troubling situations if you’re not careful!
The fireworks people tend to want and go to extremes to get are the ones that shoot up high in the sky: the ones the professionals use for big fireworks shows. The problem with those types of fireworks is that not only is setting them off against the law unless you’re licensed to handle those kinds of explosives, it’s illegal just to be in possession of them in many circumstances!
Now we won’t make this out to be a bigger problem than it is: There are plenty of reminders that go out around the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve each year reminding people about the differences between legal fireworks and prohibited ones, and additional warnings telling the public that even the legal fireworks should only be used during certain hours. The problem with these warnings is that they don’t typically amount to much: Police and Fire departments regularly warn people they’ll be out issuing tickets, yet when neighbors complain about loud, explose, theme-park style professional-grade fireworks going off at 2am in the morning without being able to get any response more than a suggestion to leave messages on tip-lines.
So why be concerned? ACCIDENTS. These aren’t worse-case-scenario situations either. Property destruction and manslaughter are two of the many charges that can result from friends setting off a few fireworks growing out of control into blazing wildfires and homes burning down.
Three teens in 2021 were arrested on arson charges for a fire that burned 13 homes, 84 acres and was started by shooting roman candles into the grass. A detective on this case had come out with information saying that the initial fire was started with the intentional setting of a Roman candle, intentionally shooting it into the grass. Fire number two was set, according to statements, by one of the teens with a lighter intentionally.
In the same year, 2021, there was yet another incident involving fires and fireworks in Pleasant Hill, CA. Two 16-year old boys are possibly facing criminal charges in connection with a vegetation fire near Diablo Valley College that authorities said was started by an illegal firework thrown from a car. The fire department in Pleasant Hill had determined that the blaze -that burned about a quarter-acre of grass and trees- was caused by a tennis ball-size explosive mortar device thrown from the passing vehicle which caused embers to spark and spray from the device. Officials said that had weather conditions been worse that day, the embers would have threatened homes, surrounding school campuses as well as parked vehicles.
It’s not just teens that end up facing very real criminal consequences over a few fireworks! In 2021 for example , a man in California found himself in the middle of a personal injury case because he was lighting illegal fireworks in his neighborhood. An explosion caused by fireworks he used caused car alarms to go off, windows to break and even injured many bystanders. Two young brothers, ages 4 and 8, ended up with burned corneas! What should’ve been a fun holiday spent with family turned into nightmares for many families in that neighborhood. After the explosion, the man threatened witnesses and asked them to delete any of the footage they had that implicated him of this crime. He is currently being charged with two felony counts of explosion causing mayhem and great bodily injury, one felony count of explosion of a destructive device causing bodily injury, and one felony count of dissuading a witness by force or threat
Fireworks are not something that should be handled carelessly, they are dangerous and can cause harm to those around if the right precautions are not taken. Do not be the person that causes your neighbors to undergo pain and trauma, enjoy the holidays but do it safely. If not for you, for the sake of those around you.
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For more details, you can read articles that discuss the specific incidents cited in this piece here:
Contributed by: Breanna Rizo
Edited by: Mike Kamer