HOUSTON - There's a good chance you will see them and hear them starting Friday night: fireworks, in celebration of the July Fourth holiday.
But if you're planning to set some off yourself, there are two questions you need to ask: Am I doing it legally? Am I doing it safely?
Using fireworks within most city limits across Texas is illegal, and even the people selling them can tell you why.
"You can't buy them outside of the city limits and then take them back into the city," said Rigo Flores, of Bang Bang So Good Fireworks. "You're not allowed to have them in the city limits at all, so you might think that you're buying fireworks then you're going to go out of town for the weekend and you've got them in your vehicle, well that's not allowed either."
Flores said having fireworks within city limits can result in fines, and if the fireworks cause any type of bodily injury or property damage, the individuals can be charged with assault or arson, which are felony crimes.
Your actions could lead to injury to yourself. The list of potential bodily harm is lengthy.
On this weekend last year, a 15-year-old who tied several sparklers together for a "sparkler bomb" lost a leg and several fingers.
Flores said a responsible adult should supervise all firework and sparkler activities.
"When you're talking about burning around your face or around your eyes, that can be a very severe injury with what seems like a very minor product, but it's not so. Always with adult supervision and always safety first," Flores said.
Some rules to follow are to light one firework at a time and then quickly move away; use fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from buildings and vehicles; never re-light a "dud" firework, keep a bucket of water to soak it; and have a fire extinguisher close.
Houston firefighters and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives held a news conference at 9 a.m. Monday to discuss the dangers of fireworks.
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