Watch CBS News

Ahead of July 4th weekend, experts remind public to leave fireworks to the professionals

Experts remind L.I. residents to let professionals handle fireworks
Experts remind L.I. residents to let professionals handle fireworks 02:01

MINEOLA, N.Y. -- As July 4th holiday fireworks shows approach, emergency room doctors worry about the growing number of young people setting off illegal explosives.

Trained experts on Long Island tell CBS2's Jennifer McLogan families can be protected by leaving the danger to the professionals.

The arson and bomb squad placed a seized explosive -- an M-80 consumer-grade firework -- inside a chicken to simulate human flesh. Within seconds, the damage appeared catastrophic.

Nassau County is touting its July 4th Eisenhower Park fireworks show by reminding the thousands of patrons who will be attending to leave explosives to the professionals.

"Keep the audience away. Distances, electronics, the pyrotechnician that fires this shell is behind a shelter 100 feet away from where these mortars fire," said Fireworks by Grucci CEO Phil Grucci.

Sparklers can create significant burns, as County Executive Bruce Blakeman demonstrated.

"Six hundred degrees ... The sparkler jumps to the clothes and then within a few seconds, you are on fire," he said.

There were near disasters in 2021 when users checked on so-called "dud" explosives.

"Either they are going to blow their face off when they stick their face down over the top of it because they think it went off already or they are going to turn around and blow their hand off or hit somebody's neighbor or a house fire," Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.

Dr. Frederick Davis has treated such victims at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

"The most things we see are injuries to hands and, specifically more concerning, to the face," he said.

"Whether it's when they're detonating or when they've been disposed of and thrown in the garbage can next to the house, that is when we have our issues," Nassau Chief Fire Marshal Michael Uttaro said.

Fifty people were arrested in Nassau in 2021 for setting off illegal fireworks after bringing them in from other states or counties. Violators face up to a D felony.

One mistake could send you and your family to the hospital, or worse.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.