Fireworks: safely start the new year off with a bang

Posted at 5:44 PM, Dec 28, 2016
and last updated 2018-11-03 15:19:44-04

With New Years Eve just days away, fireworks are flying off the shelves.

And while the bright explosives are festive, it is important to remember they can be dangerous if not handled carefully. 

Rowdy Radford, a 15-year-old from Sargent, south of Houston, had his life changed in an instant after a firework exploded. 

Back in July, Radford assembled a homemade sparkler bomb firework that exploded before he had a chance to run away. 

Radford was left with his left leg amputated below the knee and sparkler wires in his eyes after being care-flighted to a nearby hospital.

His mother, Wendy Smith, said she hopes her son's devastating injuries can be an example and warning for all who celebrate with fireworks. 

"I pray and hope they don't do it because I don't want them to see, them to go through the same pain that Rowdy is going through," Smith said.

Local emergency room doctor Omar Gonzalez said if you plan to celebrate the new year with fireworks... keep your kids away.

"They make mistakes more easily than the adults, and adults that drink become like children, so they are more prone to injury as well," Gonzalez said. 

Christian Pedigo, a 17-year-old from Belton, will be popping fireworks this New Years and believes all high school students should still have adult supervision and take precautions.  

"Just make sure that you're always a good distance away from the firework, making sure that where you're at and what you're around is safe, making sure the people around you, they're safe too, they're a safe distance away from the firework... so yeah I mean... just pretty much common sense," Pedigo said. 

Before you buy fireworks from the stand along the highway, make sure your city allows them within city limits. 

WACO (via Waco Fire Department): 

  • It is a violation of City ordinances to possess, use, manufacture, sell, give away, transport or discharge fireworks within the city limits of Waco or within 5,000 feet of the city limits without a permit from the fire marshal.
  • The ordinance prohibits the possession of fireworks by a minor.  Fireworks allowed in the city limits without a permit are smoke bombs, “snakes,” “snap and pops,” sparklers and champagne poppers.
  • Fireworks sold by retail stores in Waco, such as Wal-Mart, Target, etc., are allowed. Fireworks purchased at stands outside the city limits (except for items listed above) are illegal to use or own.

TEMPLE (via Temple Fire and Rescue):

  • It is illegal to possess, or discharge fireworks inside the city limits.  Violators of the ordinance will lose their fireworks and may receive a citation.
  • Many areas of Central Texas are dealing with dry, overgrown vegetation. Once ignited these wildland areas can burn quickly and in some cases impact residential areas.
  • If you decide to discharge fireworks outside the city limits, remember to seek permission from the landowner.  The site should be prepared by removing dead vegetation.  Common sense and sober adult supervision is critical to safe fireworks.  The Consumer Product Safety Commission offers the following tips:
    • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks
    • Read and follow all warnings and instructions
    • Be sure people are out of range before lighting fireworks.
    • Only light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
    • Keep a bucket of water for emergencies and for pouring on fireworks that don't fully function.  

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