Pyrofire sales worry Capital Region firefighters

Bill Sims lights a TNT sparkler, bought in Schenectady County, at Niskayuna Fire Department District 1 on Thursday. (Patrick Dodson/Gazette Photographer)Bill Sims lights a TNT sparkler, bought in Schenectady County, at Niskayuna Fire Department District 1 on Thursday. (Patrick Dodson/Gazette Photographer)

Devices are now legal in several counties

BY JEFF WILKIN
Gazette Reporter

CAPITAL REGION — The name “Pyrofire” sounds dangerous.

The 9-inch-tall cylinder looks tough, too. The paper container of flammable powders is illustrated with a fire-breathing dragon and lightning streaks.

But the dragon is not such a menace. “Pyrofire” is one of the low-potency fireworks now legal for purchase in Schenectady County, and spits a three-foot-tall barrage of crackling golden sparks. It’s about 50 seconds from fuse to fizzle.

That’s one minute too long for assistant chief Michael Gillespie of the Schenectady Fire Department. Gillespie and other fire safety professionals disagree with New York state’s decision to allow the sale of sparklers, fountains, caps and similar small pyrotechnics between June 1 and July 5 each year, and for a week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. The state allowed counties to permit or forbid sales; people interested in selling the fireworks had to apply for a sales certificate through the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

According to state police, 31 counties — out of the state’s 62 — have allowed sales. In the greater Capital Region, Schenectady, Saratoga, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer and Greene have permitted sales; farther north, Warren and Essex counties are also in. Albany and Schoharie counties have refused.

In New York, only people 18 and over can make fireworks purchases.

With the July 4 weekend approaching, more fireworks than usual now will be part of backyard celebrations. While spark fountains are products that do not shoot projectiles into the air or sound off with loud reports, firefighters are against anything sold for recreation that comes with a fuse.

Read more at dailygazette.com.