WBUR

Fireworks Accidents Cause Serious Injuries in Mass., N.H.

BOSTON — Three children remain hospitalized at Shriners Hospital in Boston, after a fireworks accident at a Pelham, N.H. home Tuesday night injured 13 people.

Five people have been hurt by fireworks in Massachusetts this week alone, according to state fire marshal Stephen Coan, who says the accidents occurred in Chatham, Hanover and North Brookfield. Other incidents with consumer fireworks, which are illegal in Massachusetts, resulted in fires in Brockton, Lawrence, Tyngsborough, and Ashby.

“A good night can become a tragic evening very quickly” when people set off consumer-grade fireworks, Coan said.

For more on the range of injuries caused by those fireworks, WBUR’s Steve Brown spoke with Dr. Colleen Ryan, a staff surgeon at Shriners Hospital for Children and director of the outpatient burn center at Mass. General Hospital.

“The blast injuries can actually cause a hand to be blown off or an eye to be injured,” Ryan said. She has treated burns caused by fireworks that have required skin grafts and other surgeries.

Ryan said no distance from consumer fireworks is safe, because they are “so unpredictable.” She’s particularly concerned about the widespread use of sparklers.

“The parents, they look at me and they say, ‘Well, it was just a sparkler,’ and it’s very difficult to convince people that these are actually dangerous,” Ryan said.

“The tip of a sparkler is a very, very hot source. It’s over 1,200 degrees. And some of them reach 1,800 degrees. They can cause contact burns when you touch them, even if they’re out and they’re still hot. They can have little flecks that go into your eye, and the worst case scenario, they can cause a clothing ignition and they can ignite hair.”

Over the last decade, Shriners-Boston has treated 97 children for serious burn injuries resulting from fireworks. And, hospital leaders say, 67 percent of patients treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burn injuries from fireworks over the last nine years were children.

“The anguish that the parents go through is just unparalleled,” Ryan said. ”They want the child to have a great Fourth of July celebration, and instead it winds up with a disaster.”

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mike-Rebate/100002429438598 Mike Rebate

    Citizens can thank  greedy, clueless lawmakers for the increase in fireworks related accidents.  I devoted several weeks researching this issue, after the Hoosier Hickstate legalized fireworks.   The no fireworks states are concerned they are sacrificing sales tax revenue to neighboring states that legalized  fireworks.  The fireworks lobby offers bribes in the form of  “fireman training” donations to states who drop trou.

    On the news 10 minutes ago:  another local idiot DEAD when a mortar display hit him upside the head.  I was amazed to see the potency of legal fireworks, and the mortar devices in particular.   Far too many citizens are too stupid and careless to handle the dangerous stuff. 

    The year was 1971 when me and my pals started to manufacture fireworks that made an M-80 look like a ladyfinger by comparison.  Our largest device was the size of a 12 oz soda can and could shake the ground for a block.  It could make a vending machine disappear.  We never sustained an injury during the 3 or 4 years we fooled around with this potentially deadly hobby due to   intelligence and luck.  My hearing is still perfect at age 59.

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