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Las Vegas fire officials warn of danger from fireworks

Las Vegas Fire Department officials held a fireworks safety demonstration Thursday to review safe practices for the Fourth of July holiday.

Officials set up both legal and illegal fireworks displays at Fire Station 1 downtown, emphasizing that even legal fireworks can lead to injury or damage if not handled correctly.

Department spokesman Tim Szymanski said residents should use legal fireworks on a flat surface, such as a driveway or dirt, and it is illegal to set them off on city, state or federal property, including city streets.

He said people should have a bucket of water and hose at hand, so once the firework has been used, it can be put into the water to defuse any remaining active materials.

He added that if these materials are not soaked and cleared, they could spread to neighboring properties and potentially start fires.

“It’s generally a lot of people not using fireworks that are affected by the fireworks,” Szymanski said, “so it’s everybody’s responsibility to be on the defense of fire.”

Those using fireworks should also remain at a safe distance to avoid burns, which Szymanski said are an increased risk with illegal fireworks. These fireworks cannot be controlled, he said, and explode in varying directions.

In the event of burns or other injury, Syzmanski said, residents should call 911 — regardless of whether the fireworks they used were legal or illegal — to receive the proper medical treatment.

“Fireworks are not toys,” he said. “It’s going to cost you a lot of money if the police catch you using illegal fireworks.”

Those found with illegal fireworks could face fines of up to $1,000, and first-time offenders could face $250 fines, Szymanski said.

Fire inspector Scott Thompson said that instead of calling 911, residents should report illegal fireworks through the website ISpyFireworks.com, which collects data for future law enforcement. He said patrols will be focused on areas with the highest reported activity from last year’s data.

Legal, or “safe and sane,” fireworks can be bought starting Friday through July 4 in the city of Las Vegas, and can be bought from July 1 through July 4 in Clark County.

Contact Amanda Bradford at abradford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0279. Follow @amandabrad_uc on Twitter.

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