Shop owners, police stress firework safety and legality

Shop owners, police stress firework...

ONALASKA, Wis. (WKBT) - The Fourth of July is around the corner, and that means firework shops are popping up in the area. Both shop owners and police want to remind people how to use them safely and legally.

"I've loved fireworks ever since I was a little kid,” Luke Marcou said.

Marcou and his family run Skyline Fireworks, with its main location outside Floorcrafters in Onalaska.

"We try to educate all our customers when they come in,” he said.

He wants buyers to know how to legally set off fireworks.

"Keep in mind, a lot of what you're buying is illegal,” Sgt. Tom Walsh of the La Crosse Police Department said.

Walsh said fireworks that are illegal without a permit in Wisconsin include roman candles, firecrackers and bottle rockets.

"If it goes off the ground, if it explodes, that's illegal,” he said.

Fireworks that stay on the ground, however, such as sparklers, snakes and smoke bombs are fair game.

And for the others, Marcou suggests customers get a permit.

"It's usually as simple as that,” he said. “They fill out a permit, give it to the town and the town decides whether or not they're in a safe place to light off consumer-grade fireworks."

Added Walsh: "At end of the day though, my feeling is there's a lot of really good firework shows in our area. Go watch the professionals as they do it."

For those who want to take a crack at setting off their own fireworks, however, there are important safety guidelines to keep in mind.

"We don't want anybody to get hurt,” Marcou said. “The biggest thing is safety."

Marcou and Walsh say an adult should be present at all times, along with water. They also stress following directions on firework packaging. And Walsh said to be extra careful when drinking alcohol.

"Just be very cautious and careful with what you're doing,” he said.

Other guidelines include don’t try to re-light a dud firework, and before throwing away fireworks, soak them in water.

"I hope everybody has a safe holiday weekend,” Marcou said.

No fireworks are allowed on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge because the litter disturbs the wildlife. To check if you’ll be in that area, click here.

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