AFD issues fireworks warning for New Year's Eve


by KVUE News

Posted on December 26, 2013 at 10:52 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 26 at 3:17 PM

AUSTIN -- The Austin Fire Department issued a reminder Thursday to all citizens that fireworks are illegal within the Austin city limits.

AFD said that each year, there are hundreds of brush, grass and structure fires across the state started by fireworks, causing millions of dollars in damage and putting the public at risk.

Nationally, there is an average of more than 10,000 injuries per year from fireworks, with 40 percent of those being children between the ages of 10 and 14.

AFD said the sale and use of fireworks is banned entirely in Austin. It is illegal to possess fireworks within the City of Austin and to use or sell fireworks within the City of Austin and within 5,000 feet outside the city limits.

If you are caught, the fine can be up to $500. If fireworks cause bodily harm and/or property damage, AFD said they can charge you with assault and/or arson, both felony crimes.

The U.S. Department of Transportation does not classify the following items listed as common fireworks, and their use is allowed within the City of Austin:
•    Sparklers
•    Smoke bombs
•    Glow worms & snakes
•    Poppers, trick noisemakers, snappers

However, sparklers can reach temperatures of 1,800 degrees and smoke bombs shoot a flame of two to three inches when ignited, so even though these fireworks are legal, they can still be very dangerous. AFD instead encourages citizens to leave the fireworks to the professionals.

AFD said citizens should call 311, not 911, for fireworks complaints.

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