Fire officials urge caution when using fireworks

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

Jonesboro, AR (KAIT)   - They are as much a part of the 4th of July holiday as hamburgers and hot dogs, but used with little caution, fireworks can cause big problems.

"Typically, there are more fires across the United States on Independence Day, than any other day,' said Jonesboro Fire Marshal, Craig Davenport.

It's a big concern for fire crews across the country, and Jonesboro Chief Fire Marshal, Craig Davenport, says one wrong move could be disastrous.

"It's just a matter of seconds, and within a couple of minutes you could have a major fire going," said Davenport.

"We are faced with some unique conditions this time that we haven't had in years past," said Marvin Gander.

Those conditions, Western Greene County Fire Chief Marvin Gander, is talking about was caused by this year's ice storm and all the broken tree limbs.  Essentially, firewood on the ground that could easily catch fire from a stray spark.  Those limbs, Gander says, will be used like a rung on a ladder.

"They will step on up into the canopy using the hanging limbs.   A canopy fire just simply means the blazes will go to the top of the trees," said Gander.

Gander says they don't fight a lot of canopy fires, but the risk to see one is higher simply because of the debris.

That risk is going to remain with us for several years in future," said Gander.

Both Gander and Davenport urge people to exercise extreme caution.   Keep water around in case a fire does break out, don't point fireworks at homes or other structures, and keep them out of children's hands.

"We'd rather everyone go out to one of the displays going on in the city somewhere and enjoy them that way.   Leave it to the professionals,"said Davenport.

©2009 KAIT

 all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.