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D.C. targets illegal fireworks for July Fourth

(Published July 1, 2002)

Persons caught possessing or using illegal fireworks face fines of up to $1,000 and possible arrest in the District of Columbia, officials have cautioned.

With summer in full swing and the Fourth of July approaching, the D.C. Fire Prevention Division announced it has beefed up its safety inspection efforts to confiscate illegal fireworks. Officials said confiscated fireworks are destroyed after 30 days.

"Traditionally, we have had some of the lowest fireworks casualty rates of any state in the nation where fireworks are sold," said Fire Chief Ronnie Few. "Our fireworks safety and education messages seek to make those casualties non-existent, but we need the publicís help."

Fireworks that are illegal in the District include firecrackers or fireworks that explode, such as cherry bombs, M80s, salutes, Roman candles, floral shells and artillery shells.

Legal fireworks include sparklers less than 20 inches, torches, box fires, fountains, cones, non poisonous snakes, paper novelty items, colored lights and paper caps.

Persons who want to sell fireworks must apply for and display a permit issued by the D.C. Fire Marshalís Office. Vendors can call (202) 727-1600 to obtain a permit application.

Citizens may call fire officials at (202) 727-1614 to report illegal fireworks being sold or used. A list of frequently asked questions about fireworks may be viewed on the fire departmentís Web site at www.fems.dc .gov.óKevin Nash

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator