Firework sales begin tomorrow, fire officials and vendors hope customers stay safe

COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Fourth of July is just two weeks away, which also means fireworks.

Stands are getting ready to open Friday.

We were able to buy sparklers and firecrackers Thursday.

They may seem small and safe, but they are just as dangerous. Last year children lost part of their fingers using fireworks improperly.

"People just need to use common sense when it comes to using fireworks because they can cause injuries," said Boone County Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Gale Blomenkamp.

Two years ago the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said three people died and more than 8,500 people were sent to the emergency room because of fireworks.

Customers' favorite fireworks are sparklers,firecrackers and bottle rockets -- and these can be surprisingly dangerous.

Sparklers can reach a temperature of nearly  1,400 degrees.

We bought one set of sparklers that are 3-feet long to ask Blomenkamp how dangerous sparklers can be.

"Understand that if you're waving something that is 3-feet long, 36 inches, it takes a lot of space to have a clearing around. You can imagine four or five kids running around the front yard, somebody is likely to get burned," said Blomenkamp.

Even though the firecrackers may be small, they can still be powerful.

"You have to stand back away from the fireworks, just be safe, because you know sometimes things can go wrong or something has gone wrong," says Catie Hinton, an associate at Spirit of 76 fireworks shop.

That's why Blomenkamp recommends disposing of the firecrackers the right way.

Last year multiple homes caught fire because of old firecrackers that were still hot.

Bottle rockets may have flashy tails and add excitement when shot off.

But if shot in the wrong way, you could cause serious injuries.

"When mommy always tells you you can put someone's eye out, it's true, and it happens everywhere in the U.S. someone gets hit with a bottle rocket or a misguided firework. Or even sparks. They can be dangerous," Blomenkamp said.

That danger is something we are told families should keep in mind to stay safe this summer and over the holiday weekend.

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