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Local opinion columnists

Fireworks users, be safe and sane!

By From page A11 | July 03, 2014

I don’t like fireworks. While I love big public professional firework events with huge explosive showers of color, I’m just not a fan of the legal “safe and sane” and the unsafe and insane illegal fireworks people buy to celebrate Independence Day.

Maybe I’m just getting old. Comforting my dogs while they bark, cower and howl at every explosion outside isn’t my definition of fun. Having illegal fireworks flying overhead hoping something doesn’t land on my roof or lawn isn’t exciting. And it’s going to provide a real challenge for law enforcement as they get calls of “shots fired” that are really fireworks, or people hear gunshots and assume they’re fireworks and don’t call.

Firefighters blame illegal fireworks for causing a blaze that consumed seven acres behind Fairfield Chevrolet on Monday. With a severe drought and everything so dry, fire departments up and down the state are bracing for a lot of activity this weekend. And the Fairfield Fire Department and Fairfield police issued a statement about safety this weekend (that you can read here https://local.nixle.com/alert/5226319/)

Even though I’m older and crankier, I don’t knock Suisun City for allowing fireworks sales. While Fairfield kicks off July 4 festivities with the parade downtown at 10 a.m., Suisun City wraps it up with a spectacular fireworks display over the waterfront at 9:30 p.m.(with oodles of activities between). Fireworks sales help Suisun put on its celebration without dipping into public coffers. Fireworks sales have helped sports teams; scouts, cheerleading teams and others earn money to keep their organizations going.

My hope is that people are careful using those fireworks. Besides the obvious fire hazard, safe-and-sane fireworks become neither if the user has been drinking. And Independence Day is a big drinking holiday. If you’re planning on enjoying fireworks, make sure the inebriated just watch and don’t participate. (Not that anyone should be using fireworks in Fairfield, where all fireworks are illegal!)

The fireworks problem is further exacerbated by the use of illegal fireworks. Too often, people aren’t satisfied by the safe-and-sane sparklers, fountains, spinners, snakes and the like. They want ladyfingers, firecrackers, M80s, bottle rockets and roman candles. They want to blow up stuff and see things fly through the air. An evening that could start off festive soon ends with a “Hey, watch this!” followed by a trip to the ER. There are tons of videos on YouTube of individuals vying for a Darwin Award misusing illegal fireworks.

I get the attraction. I was young once. Since fireworks were illegal in Fairfield, my brothers, friends and I would travel to Vallejo to buy them. And there were always friends who knew how to get firecrackers and M80s. We were about as responsible and safe with those fireworks as a mastodon in a glass factory. We were lucky we weren’t hurt doing some of the stupid things we did.

Maybe I am getting old. Barbecue and a cold brew while watching a professional fireworks display is about my speed these days. But for those who plan to use their own, be responsible. And you kids, keep your fireworks off my lawn! Peace.

Kelvin Wade is the author of “Morsels” Vols. I and II and lives in Fairfield. Email him at [email protected]

Kelvin Wade

Kelvin Wade


Discussion | 6 comments

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  • RobbieJuly 03, 2014 - 4:46 am

    I truly hope that all the responsible folks in Fairfield will take a stand and call the FFPD if they witness anyone using fireworks. I live very near to where the fire was on Monday & it could have been a disaster. Especially with a drought & the high winds.

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  • 2realJuly 03, 2014 - 5:28 am

    Robbie no ones calling the police for illegal firework users. The police will be so busy dealing with drunk drivers, fights etc.

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  • CD BrooksJuly 03, 2014 - 6:27 am

    Kelvin, thanks for trying to make folks aware! Most know they aren't allowed to use fireworks here, but of course history tells us that doesn't matter. The Napa fire has drawn many firefighters from their posts meaning less protection for those areas they work in. Please use some sense while you break the laws and your kids learn through your arrogance.

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  • ToniJuly 03, 2014 - 10:38 am

    Kevin, thank you for a great article. People just don't understand every year on the 4th July safety, common sense, around the neighborhoods. the ones that you had mentioned. There was an article in the newspaper stating that it is illegal to have them. My neighbors and I will be calling the Police.

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  • patrickJuly 03, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    Good article Kelvin Perhaps you should have mentioned the morons who fire their guns into the air

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  • SteveJuly 03, 2014 - 2:18 pm

    Good job Kevin, for raising awareness. I used to feel it's a person's own choice to risk blowing up their hand. But last year I came home on the 4th to a note on the door from the fire department and my front yard was burned up. Luckily the neighbors alerted the fire dept before the fire in the trees caught the house on fire. By the way -- thank you very much, neighbors! Apparently it was airborne fireworks from the next block over. I'll be staying home and alert this time!

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