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Law Enforcement Warns of Firework Danger

Orchard Park, NY (WBEN) - Dan Walczak of the Erie County Sheriff's bomb squad knows it will be a busy weekend for his crew.

"Over this next week to week and a half, we will assist other agencies with the seizure of maybe one to two tons of fireworks," Walczak said.

All of those fireworks come from multiple places. "It varies every year. Sometimes we have unlicensed pyrotechnics operators that however it is, someone finds out they do not have the proper licensing. It could be that we handle 100 calls that we respond to where someone's selling out of their garage or their basement."

Walczak isn't expecting the amount of fireworks confiscated over the next few days to go down, in fact just the opposite. Because the fourth of July holiday falls on a Friday, the Sheriff's Department is expecting three full days of illegal firework use.

In an attempt to persuade people to not light their own fireworks, Walczak and the Sheriff's Office Bomb Squad staged a demonstration on Thursday.

"The Bomb Squad manufactured some hands using ballistic gelatin and dish gloves," Walczak said. Inside the ballistic hand the Bomb Squad placed a K-1000 explosive, and then set it off to see what would happen. 

After the blast, there was nothing left of the hand.

"Of course fireworks are a part of our celebration and an annual tradition," said Dr. Kathryn Bass, the Medical Director for Trauma at Women's and Children's Hospital. "My biggest advice is to leave them in the hands of the professionals and attend a public display."

"You're dealing with something that was manufactured 5,000 miles away from here," said Walczak. "It's probably a couple years old before it's even sold to you. You're using your body to deliver somethingthat's explosive, and that's not highly recommended."


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