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Rocky Mountain News (CO) – Monday, June 28, 2004
Author/Byline: Clayton Woullard , Rocky Mountain News
Edition: Final
Section: City Desk/Local
Page: 17A
Mike Garcia has celebrated July Fourth with fireworks every year since he was a child and feels the holiday would be pretty boring without them.

“It’s a tradition, and the kids love ’em,” said Garcia, 32, of Commerce City.

Garcia said that while he’s not aware of his city’s laws regarding fireworks, he uses them anyway.

This confusion may be because although the state is clear on what fireworks are legal, laws vary among Denver-area cities.

Wendy Krajewski, public information officer for North Metro Fire Rescue, said cities like Northglenn and Thornton have full fireworks bans because all fireworks are dangerous.

“Most cities realize the hazards with fireworks,” Krajewski said. “Any product that you can ignite and explode, there’s some risk that comes with that.”

Commerce City, Denver and Golden are among other metro-area cities with full fireworks bans.

Aeron Calkins, who owns Olde Glory Fireworks on Federal Boulevard, said he thinks the cities with full fireworks bans are ignorant about what fireworks are safe.

“Most municipalities don’t know the difference between a bottle rocket and a smoke bomb,” Calkins said.

He also said most of his customers are confused over where it’s legal to use fireworks in Colorado and what kinds are permissible.

Colorado signed a bill into law this year that clarifies permissible fireworks as those commonly known as “safe and sane.” This includes sparklers, fountains, spinners and smoke bombs. Bottle rockets, firecrackers, cherry bombs, Roman candles, aerial bombs and anything that leaves the ground or explodes are prohibited in the state.

Krajewski said permissible fireworks still present a risk.

“Would you heat up a frying pan and then hand it to a small child?” she said. “Probably not; that’s common sense as a parent.”

According to statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the National Fire Prevention Association, injuries resulting from fireworks have decreased in the past decade.

An estimated 8,800 injuries resulted from fireworks in 2000, down from about 12,000 injuries in 1990.

“I think our society has become a little more safety-conscious when it’s relevant,” Krajewski said.

Locally, there were no reported fireworks-related injuries last year and only two in 2002.

Ann Crampton, spokesperson for the National Council on Fireworks Safety, said fireworks consumption has increased over the past decade, with 220 million pounds used last year, up from 190 million pounds in 2002.

“I think since 9/11, we have felt a stronger sense of national pride and we want to renew those feelings of patriotism,” Crampton said.


Fireworks laws

* Colorado law permits only “safe and sane” fireworks, which includes sparklers, smoke bombs and fountains. Nothing that explodes or leaves the ground is permitted, including firecrackers and bottle rockets.

* Cities, however, can choose to further restrict fireworks. Many, including Denver, Thornton and Golden, have banned all fireworks.


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