What better way to demonstrate the dangers of fireworks than to blow up some fruit?
That’s exactly what the Cambridge Police and Fire Officials did Wednesday afternoon to demonstrate the dangers of fireworks. If we all close our eyes and pretend that a cantaloupe and an orange were human hands, the pulp strewn across the North Point Park grass would be a bloody mess.
“We all know with the Fourth of July coming up this week, everyone is very tempted to buy fireworks because they think they add to their barbecues and parties,” District Attorney Mariam Ryan said. “What we repeatedly see in these situations is suddenly the fun turns tragic. We don’t even refer to them as accidents because they are totally preventable.”
Last summer, a young boy in Massachusetts had a firework go off in his hand before tossing it, costing him a few fingers, broken bones, burns and hearing loss. Officials asked people to come out to fireworks displays in order to avoid injury or property damage.
In Massachusetts, there is no way to charge a person who improperly disposes of fireworks. Ryan said that her office has teamed up with State Representative Jay Livingstone to create laws to charge people who cause property damage or injury specifically with fireworks.
“Police and Fire Departments do a great job keeping us safe in Massachusetts, but when things go bad, there should be consequences,” Livingstone said. “The current state of law does not address the bigger situation.”
Cambridge Deputy Fire Chief Gerard Mahoney said that emergency responders see damage and injury every summer from improper use of fireworks and called upon the public to leave the displays to the professional pyro-technicians. He said that on Sunday, a boy in Nashville, Tennessee and a man in Detroit, Michigan both died in fireworks-related incidents.
“Last July Fourth, we had three incidents in the Commonwealth with injuries needed hospitalization,” Mahoney said. “Some people think they can use them in wide open areas, but they’ve started plenty of wildfires.”
Cambridge Police Commissioner Bob Haas offered a different perspective on the severity of fireworks in the city.
“Living in an urban center, it’s hard for residents to determine the difference between fireworks and gunfire,” Haas said. “It’s like crying wolf for responders. Every time we get these calls, it means community members are in distress and think something drastic is happening.”