Chicago firefighters stage fireworks safety demonstration ahead of July 4th holiday

Mother of burn victim warns others it's not worth the risk
CHICAGO (WLS) -- With the 4th of July just days away, safety officials want to remind everyone just how dangerous fireworks can be.

Five children have already been treated at Comer Children's Hospital for fireworks injuries. The most recent was an 11-year-old child hit in the chest by a bottle rocket.

"It is not worth the risk of harming a child in your care, trust me you do not want to spend the Fourth of July weekend with your family in the emergency room," said Dr. Princy George, UChicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital.

The Chicago Fire Department staged a live demonstration outside UChicago Comer Children's Hospital Tuesday morning.

Even in the pouring rain, all it took was a touch of the sparkler for a t-shirt to catch fire.

"I hope and pray that the message and warnings today will be taken to heart, fireworks are dangerous and illegal," said Cmsr. Annette Nance-Holt, Chicago Fire Dept.

RELATED: July 4th safety: How to prevent fireworks-related injuries, fires

Sparklers burn at 1800 degrees, that's hot enough to warp, melt and sag steel.

"People think they are safe and nothing could be farther from the truth," said Mike Figolah, past president of the Illinois Fire Safety Alliance. "If it takes a match to light it, don't do it."

Aileen Marquez said she hates the sound of fireworks. Ten years ago she was in another hospital with her then 5-year-old daughter Isabella.

In just a second, a sparkler caught her dress on fire. Isabella has permanent scars after being burned on 70-percent of her body.

"So many childhood illnesses are not preventable but fireworks injuries are. A simple decision to go to a professional display rather than a neighbor's yard can end up impacting the rest of your life," said Marquez.

Marquez said she stepped out of her comfort zone to share her story.

"If I can help one person, and change one person's life, than a million times this was worth it," said Marquez.

Fireworks, including sparklers, are not only dangerous, but illegal in Chicago and many surrounding suburbs.
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