Reading State Police warn of firework mishaps for the Fourth of July

Photo by Emily Thiel
Reading State Police use fireworks to demonstrate the dangers of the holiday.
Photo by Emily Thiel Reading State Police use fireworks to demonstrate the dangers of the holiday.

Along with state police, Fire Marshall Mike Yeity cooked up a three and a half pound roasting chicken as preparations for the Fourth of July holiday using four hundred fireworks to ignite the poultry inside out.

Yeity demonstrated, along with State Trooper David Beohm, the dangers of unsafe firework use by blowing up a few things in a controlled setting. Proactive with their idea developed the morning of Wednesday, July 1, Yeity and Beohm took to a small grassy hill behind the Reading State Police Barracks to set off a stuffed bear, chicken and hotdog with fireworks.

“I’ve never done anything like this,” State Trooper David Beohm said prior to the spark. Prepped with the fire extinguisher close by, Yeity’s experiments started with a packet of 16 firecrackers in the bear. The puff of the stuffed bear gathered a disappointed “boo” from the police lined up to watch.

“There is danger is involved no matter how small you think [the fireworks are,] it can change your life,” Fire Marshall Mike Yeity said.


Boehm warned of the outcomes of drinking alcohol and playing with fireworks. “The types of things you want to do [while] drinking... you can see what can happen,” the state trooper said.

With the excitement of blowing things up, came the realization of the danger when it was a hotdog with a single “incher” 1 1/4 inch firecracker that was ignited. It took some time to find the uncooked dog after the explosion set it to the air. “If you lose a finger, it can change your life. If you lose a finger on your dominant hand, you have to learn to write a different way,” Yeity said.

Hundreds of firecrackers were attempted to stuff the chicken but just could not fit inside.

Firework accidents are quite common on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day celebrations where fireworks are heavily used but fires are much more common.

Yeity suggested letting used fireworks and remnants submerged in a bucket of water overnight, for full confidence that a fire will not ignite. Much too often people put the fireworks in the trash to start a fire later in the night. Illegal fireworks cause a problem of their own as particles of illegal aerial displays often land on piles of trash or roofing which also leads to a full on blaze.

The police encourage the public to leave the big firework displays to the professionals as they are trained to work with the explosives.

“Enjoy the holiday and enjoy it safely and responsibly,” Beohm said.

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