Valdosta firefighters discourage the use of fireworks - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Valdosta firefighters discourage the use of fireworks

July 3, 2003

Valdosta - They're a big part of everyone's fourth of July celebrations. But if they're not set off by a trained professional, fireworks are illegal in Georgia. "They're dangerous, illegal, and it's just not worth it," said Fire Chief J.D. Rice.

Even small firecrackers like sparklers can cause great harm and are prohibited by Georgia law. "They're extremely dangerous if you haven't been trained to set them off," said Rice. "There have been several cases where children and adults have been burned, and they've even been deadly in some cases."

With Valdosta less than 20 miles from the Florida line, many residents are making a run for the border to purchase fireworks. But if you're caught setting them off, you'll have to face the consequences.

"It's a misdemeanor charge that can carry up to a $1,000.00 fine and a year in jail," said Lt. Jo Ann Rofulowitz, Valdosta Police Detective.

And local law enforcement will be watching. "It's a joint effort between our fire marshals and the police department, and we'll be patrolling looking for any lights in the sky or on the ground," said Rice.

Although you can't set off your own fireworks, you will be able to see a show Thursday night. The city of Valdosta is setting up for it's annual fireworks display.

"We encourage people to come out to the city's show, because those people are trained and know what they're doing and its going to be a great display," said Rice.

That show will begin at 9:45 in the Promenade Plaza. It will include over 1200 fireworks, and most importantly, its a safe and legal way to enjoy the holiday.

posted at 3:50 by ashley.harper@walb.com