Except for sparklers, most fireworks are illegal in Florida, but a loophole allows the sale of firecrackers, bottle rockets and roman candles at roadside stands.
An agricultural exemption allows people to buy and sell just about anything as long as they sign a waiver indicating the items are going to be used to scare birds or some other legitimate purpose, according to the Capitol News Service.
However, in addition to causing fires, illegal fireworks are also responsible for dozens of trips to emergency rooms each Fourth of July.
CFO Alex Sink is urging people to attend sponsored fireworks events, but if they must buy their own, people should be careful.
“First and foremost, don’t buy any illegal fireworks," Sink said. "There’s a reason why some fireworks are illegal, and they need to be only be used by professionals.”
In 2007, at least 145 fires in Florida, costing almost $1 million in damage, were caused by fireworks or sparklers, according to the news service.
“You can be liable for the damage caused by those structure fires, and God forbid anybody gets hurt in that process, but you can also be liable for any property damage that’s caused," said Cindy Dick of the Florida Fire Chiefs Association.
The rule is that if it flies or explodes, it is illegal, and even if you sign a waiver, you can still be fined up to $1,000 for using fireworks illegally.
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