CLARKSTOWN, N.Y. – A July Fourth incident, where fireworks severely injured a local man, is a sobering reminder of how dangerous such pyrotechnic devices can be, say Clarkstown police.
Officers and other emergency first responders were called to Hall Avenue in New City around 9:30 p.m. on Monday where they found the unidentified 38-year-old man with extensive burns to his arms and face.
The “professional grade” device, which malfunctioned, blew up as the man was setting it off, police said.
He was rushed to the burn center at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla by Rockland Paramedics and New City Volunteer Ambulance Corps volunteers, police said.
His condition was not known Tuesday.
According to police, 11 people died in 2015 using fireworks and close to 12,000 were injured by the devices around the country.
About 67 percent of those incidents occurred in the 30 days before and after the Fourth of July holiday, they said.
Rockland was one of 37 counties in New York that opted in after the state made it legal in 2014 to purchase sparkler devices, ground-based fireworks that spew sparks and smoke, or make crackling noises.
Sale of sparklers are limited to adults, age 18 and over.
Clarkstown police stressed, however, that it is still illegal to possess or use any device that shoots up into the air, or has explosives in it.
These include: bottle rockets, Roman candles, spinners, firecrackers and M-80s.
Putnam County allows sparklers, but Westchester does not.
Even if you buy fireworks in a county where they’re legal, it is still against the law to use them in Rockland, and other places where they’re not, police said.
The sparklers were signed off on by County Executive Ed Day, who nonetheless warned that they could be dangerous if not used properly.
According to a report by lohud.com, the head of Rockland’s fire and emergency services, and other fire officials, were opposed to the law’s change for safety reasons.
The Firemen’s Association of the State of New York has likewise urged folks to forego the backyard displays for fireworks shows handled by professionals.
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