A Gig Harbor man suffered a critical leg injury after a firework he was standing near did not light correctly, sending him to Saint Anthony’s for the rest of the holiday.
According to Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One’s Battalion Chief Pete Capella, fire and medics were sent to the Purdy Spit for the injury. The man was not a member of the official fireworks crew.
“They were setting off fireworks and one didn’t go off,” Capella said. “And the man was standing over the mortar.”
The injured man was sent to the nearby hospital for a knee injury. Gig Harbor Medic One did not release the name of the injured man.
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Every year Jane and Larry Treleven and their Henderson Bay neighbors put together money, and take donations, for a free, large firework show over the bay near Purdy Spit. Each year the families hire a barge and a specialist to light the fireworks.
The injured man and his friends were not apart of the official show, according to Capella, but were lighting personal fireworks during the time of the injury at the Purdy Spit.
Injuries are one of the reasons mortars and other large fireworks are illegal to use in Pierce County and most of the state.
For unincorporated Pierce County, which includes the greater Gig Harbor Peninsula and the Key Peninsula, fireworks can be legally discharged from from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 1, July 2 and July 3. On July 4, fireworks can be legally discharged from 10 a.m. to midnight. On July 5, fireworks can be discharged from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Illegal fireworks include;
- Firecrackers. A firecracker makes a single “pop” sound.
- Sky rockets and missiles. Similar to bottle rockets, but when ignited reaches a high altitude before giving off a big explosion and light.
- Bottle rockets. A firecracker stick that is placed in a bottle and then ignited.
- M-80s, M-100s, etc. They can contain flash powders, black powder or a composition of both. Have been known to cause fatal injuries.
- Improvised explosive devices. These are fireworks created at home, such as pipe bombs and tennis ball bombs.
- Altered fireworks. Any legal or illegal fireworks that are altered, such as a group of sparklers taped together
According to Gig Harbor Police Public Information Officer Jeff Martineau, anyone caught using illegal fireworks or discharging fireworks outside of the scheduled allowance times can be fined up to $1,000.
“Our goal is for everyone to have a fun and good time,” Martineau said. “We are not going to go out and just issue a lot of tickets. We would prefer to educate, but there is the potential with these illegal explosive devices that can cause a lot of problems and injuries.”