Utah officials deal with fires, injuries caused by fireworks

Posted at 4:16 PM, Jul 26, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-26 23:44:25-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Sunday is the last day for legally setting off fireworks in Utah for the July holidays, and first responders statewide are counting down the hours after several fires were sparked and injuries were caused by the explosives this month.

“We had a lot of fireworks on the Fourth of July, seven or eight fires the night of the Fourth we had hoped we were done,” said Lt. Dave Caron with the Springville Police Department.

That may have been wishful thinking in Springville, as firefighters battled the flames of yet another fire caused by fireworks.

“They were up Spring Canyon, a bunch of kids, and they were playing with fireworks, sparklers and stuff,” Caron said. “Apparently some of it landed in some dry grass and caught fire.”

Related story: Firefighters urge caution after fireworks spark 2 house fires in Ogden

Officials with the Utah Department of Forestry said this year they are fighting a lot of human caused fires, many of which were sparked by fireworks. July is also the month when local emergency rooms see the most injuries caused by fireworks.

“We see various kinds of injuries,” said Christopher Wilder, who is a registered nurse at Riverton Hospital. “Sometimes there are explosions. Sometimes there are burns that occur, and the burns are usually to the hands and to the arms.”

Wilde said about six patients injured by fireworks have been treated in their facility’s ER since Pioneer Day, and he said the cases tend to spike on July 4 and July 24.

“Typically, we see a larger volume associated with both of those days,” Wilde said.

As of Sunday, July 27 at 11 p.m., setting off fireworks will no longer be allowed, but the kids setting off fireworks in Springville Saturday morning were not doing so during approved hours or on permitted lands, which means they could face fines up to $5,000.

“There’s a couple more days with fireworks allowed, and then we get to breathe easy, but people have just gotta be careful,” Caron said.