Murfreesboro, TENN. – Murfreesboro Police and Fire Rescue Departments are urging residents to practice fireworks safety after part of a man’s hand was amputated while attempting to shoot a firework mortar from the sunroof of a car Wednesday, June 30. A woman in the car also suffered minor burns and injuries.
The Murfreesboro man told police Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services the mortar exploded in a tube he was holding in his left hand. The accident happened near Forrest Drive and N. Highland Blvd. around 9:30 p.m. Medical personnel searched the area attempting to preserve parts of the man’s hand but couldn’t locate anything. The 21-year-old is being treated at Vanderbilt Medical Center.
“Fireworks are made of explosives and are dangerous when used improperly,” said MPD Captain Cary Gensemer. “Users should read the instructions and safety warnings. Bad things can happen, as was the case with this accident; a man’s life is changed forever.”
The 20-year old female in the vehicle suffered slight head injuries, minor burns to her neck and upper back, and complained of ear pain. Medics treated her at the scene.
“Fireworks can cause serious injury with careless and incorrect use and should only be utilize at the city allowed time of the year,” said MFRD Chief Mark Foulks. “This incident should serve as a reminder never hold fireworks in your hands; always use a flat surface lighting them.”
Also, a group of people shot fireworks at passing cars, causing drivers to swerve off the road to avoid being hit on Forrest and Lee Streets between midnight and 2 a.m. Monday, June 28. Individuals also shot fireworks at a Murfreesboro police patrol unit.
CITY FIREWORKS REGULATIONS
Residents are only allowed to use fireworks in the city limits of Murfreesboro on July 3rd, 4th, and 5th between the hours of 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. Seasonal sales of fireworks are only permitted from June 28 – July 5 from State-approved retailers. MFRD’s Community Risk Reduction Division inspected 13 fireworks retail sites Friday, June 25, and Monday, June 28.
In 2018, National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) estimates there were 19,500 fires started by fireworks in the United States. According to NFPA, these fires caused 46 civilian injuries, five civilian deaths, and $105 million in property damage.
MFRD encourages residents to enjoy public displays of fireworks instead of risking injury using consumer fireworks. Celebration Under the Stars Fireworks display presented by Middle Tennessee Electric will take place July 4 at The Fountains, 1500 Medical Center Parkway, near Fire Station 4 beginning at 4p.m. Fireworks display starts at 9 p.m.
If citizens choose to use consumer fireworks, MFRD and MPD offer the following safety tips:
- Always purchase your fireworks from reliable sources.
- Only light fireworks outdoors on a smooth, flat surface away from homes, dry leaves, and flammable materials.
- Read and follow all instructions, warnings and use common sense.
- Keep a garden hose or bucket of water nearby in case of a fire or malfunction.
- Wear eye protection.
- Never allow children to handle or ignite fireworks.
- Never try to relight fireworks that have not fully functioned.
- Sparklers are not toy items and cause hundreds of injuries every year. Sparklers burn hot, can reach temperatures as high as 1,200° F, and stay hot long after they’ve burned out. You wouldn’t hand a matchbook or lighter to a child to wave around or play with, so don’t give a child a sparkler.
- Fireworks are not to be lit on roadways, rights-of-way, or sidewalks, only on your property.
Click here to view a public service announcement about safety instructions https://youtu.be/jFZy92W0w-M.
The City of Murfreesboro has banned residents from using bottle rockets, reloadable mortars, and sky lanterns.
To learn more about the City of Murfreesboro’s rules about fireworks or to access a link to the full text for the city code related to fireworks, please visit http://www.murfreesborotn.gov/FAQ.aspx?QID=192.