Fireworks lifted from Hillsborough County burn ban

Fireworks can be dangerous if they are not properly handled.

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s extremely dry in our area despite some much needed rain. Tighter water restrictions were put in place on Monday in several Tampa Bay area counties. In Hillsborough County, there’s also an emergency burn ban in place that’s been extended until at least Wednesday.

Even with the burn ban, vendors are still allowed to sell fireworks and consumers are still allowed to set legal ones off.

The county’s emergency policy group agreed to lift fireworks from the ban, but Hillsborough County Fire Marshal Tammy Zurla called that a bad decision.

“I don’t like anything being set off in the middle of a burn ban. I don’t like any explosives set off at any time. I’m prevention. I live and breathe prevention,” Zurla said.

Since the end of April until last week, setting off fireworks was prohibited in Hillsborough County.

Fireworks were still sold during that time, but now that the ban is lifted, sales are booming.

News Channel 8 talked with Rocky Diroma, the general manager of Phantom Fireworks.

“With it being so dry, are you a bit nervous selling these at all?” we asked Diroma.

“Well again, this is the nature of the business, regardless if you’re a business owner or if you’re a consumer, anyone’s concern is the well-being of the county that you live in,” he said.

Zurla says for the well-being of the county, people should leave fireworks alone.

“Fireworks are an explosive. I don’t know a way to sugar coat that. It’s an explosive and I don’t know that there’s any time of year that it’s smart to do that. We like to leave it to the professionals,” said Zurla.

Diroma disagrees.

“We could discuss power tools. We could discuss ladders, skateboards, bicycles, again unfortunately, whatever item we discuss or topic we decide to talk about, they all have some type of issue that may happen or could happen,” Diroma said.

The only fireworks that are legal in Hillsborough County are defined as sparklers. That includes snakes or glow worms, smoke devices, trick noisemakers, party poppers, booby traps, snappers, trick matches that produce a spark, cigarette loads and auto burglar alarms.

Most retailers have a section set aside of products you can buy that don’t require a waiver.

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