Ottawa fire chief warns fireworks can cause damage, injuries

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

The dangers of incidents involving fireworks are real, Ottawa fire department officials said.

Tim Mathias,  Ottawa Fire Chief, said common sense needs to be followed when around fireworks or grills.

Firework displays can be beautiful, but harmful if precautions are not taken into consideration.

“Anytime you are dealing with fireworks or anything that creates heat, a person would be surprised how little it takes to get something on fire,” Mathias said. “Definitely the rain does help with the chance of having large fires. We have had buildings catch on fire due to bottle rockets. There is always that danger of — even though it might be wet outside — to have a propelled firework get underneath a shingle or land next to a building. There is always that chance of catching something on fire.”

Mathias warned patrons that is is illegal to shoot off fireworks in the the city limits, but knows it still happens.

City of Ottawa ordinance prohibits the sale, barter or give away fireworks inside the city limits. The discharge, firing, possession of fireworks inside the city is prohibited.

“You definitely don’t want to mix fireworks and alcohol,” Mathias said. “When people do shoot off fireworks — where it is legal to do that — little kids need to have [supervision]. On the medical side, we have seen significant fireworks injuries over the years. Common sense goes a long way.”

Many times a used firework can also cause damage or injuries, Mathias said.

“Sometimes a discarded firework is still dangerous,” he said. “We recommend putting them in a bucket of water after you are done. Pick up after yourselves. It is not a good look for the city and it is dangerous.”

Mathias said this weekend is about having fun in the right way.

“We have all been through 2020 and looking forward to the Fourth of July weekend and the excitement that comes with that,” Mathias said. “Just be careful. Do the right thing and have a great weekend.”