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Fireworks best left to the professionals

MORGANTOWN — The Fourth of July is well-known as the most popular day for fireworks with everything from 30-minute displays sponsored by cities to kids in the suburbs waving sparklers.

Yet, all fireworks, even the ones launched by professionals, are dangerous. Each year, thousands of people, most often children and teens, are injured by consumer fireworks, according to the National Fire Protection Association. 

And in some places, such as in Morgantown city limits, they are illegal to use. Doing so is a misdemeanor and could result in a fine of $100 to $500.

“The bottom line people have to remember is you’re dealing with explosives,” said Bob Brookover, president of the Monongalia County Volunteer Firefighters Association. “Some of them have quick fuses, some of them don’t, and just because something doesn’t go off it’s not a good idea to walk up and see why.”

If a firework doesn’t go off, it’s probably best to throw water on it, Brookover said.

With 50 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter, Brookover said while he’s seen a few fireworks go off in hands, luckily there have been very few serious injuries and he can’t remember any fatalities. 

According to the NFPA, few people understand the dangers of fireworks and the devastating injuries they can cause. 

“(People) don’t realize how much explosive material is packed into some of those little fireworks and, you know, we’re talking there’s enough there to blow your fingers off, your hand off,” Brookover said.

While Brookover said he’s set off his share of fireworks, as he’s gotten older he’s realized it’s best left to the professionals.

For those who haven’t gotten older yet, he said it’s important to not rush and don’t drink.

“Alcohol and fireworks, they don’t mix very well,” Brookover said.

Morgantown’s fireworks display will be at 10 p.m. Sunday.

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