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Dangerous Fireworks

July 2nd, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Except for sparklers, most fireworks are illegal in Florida, but a loophole allows the sale of firecrackers, bottle rockets and roman candles at roadside stands. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, revelers beware.

If youre looking for a bang, its easy to find.

Roadside stands like this one are popping up all over the state. The earlier they show up on the side of the road, the more likely they are to be licensed and complying with state law.

While sparklers are the only thing thats legal in Florida, the law has a loophole so big, you can throw a stick of dynamite through it.

An agricultural exemption allows people to buy and sell just about anything, as long as they sign a waiver indicating the items are going to be used to scare birds or some other legitimate purpose.

CFO Alex Sink is urging people to attend sponsored fireworks, but if they must buy their own, to be careful.

First and foremost, dont buy any illegal fireworks,” Sink said. “Theres a reason why some fireworks are illegal and they need to be only be used by professionals.

In 2007, at least 145 fires in Florida, costing almost a million dollars in damage, were caused by fireworks or sparklers.

You can be liable for the damage caused by those structure fires, and God forbid anybody gets hurt in that process, but you can also be liable for any property damage thats caused, Cindy Dick, Tallahassee Fire Department Chief said.

The rule is that if it flies or explodes, it is illegal, and even if you sign a waiver, you can still be fined up to a thousand dollars for using fireworks illegally.

In addition to causing fires, illegal fireworks are also responsible for dozens of trips to emergency rooms each Fourth of July.

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