JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — For many families celebrating our nation’s independence, it just wouldn’t be July 4 without fireworks.
With all the excitement, it can be easy to forget that they can be dangerous.
It’s illegal to set off exploding fireworks in Florida.
A loophole in state law allows people to sell and buy those fireworks anyway, if they’re going to be used for “frightening birds from agricultural works and fish hatcheries.”
If police catch you setting them off for recreation, you could be charged with a misdemeanor.
But it could cost much more.
On July 4, 2017 a westside Jacksonville father was blinded in one eye after a firework exploded in his face.
Days later, two Flagler County kids were permanently disfigured by fireworks they said they found "lying around."
“I got two kids that were playing with a firecracker. One of them has a hand almost blown off,” a stranger who took the children to a hospital told 911.
On July 4, 2016, an Alachua County father died setting off a mortar-style firework.
“He was a nice guy. And he did talk about his kids a lot,” his neighbor Mike Towns told Action News Jax the next day.
If you’re going to take fireworks to a state where it is legal to use them, Phantom Fireworks recommends setting them off on a hard, flat surface, keeping a hose nearby, and staying 150 feet away from people or buildings.
Sparklers, snakes, fountains, party poppers – pretty much anything that doesn’t explode – are legal to use in Florida.
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