Shelby TownshipJuly 2, 2012
Township cites fire increase in issuing advisory for fireworks use
By Brad D. Bates
C & G Staff Writer
SHELBY TOWNHIP — Citing a dramatic rise in brushfires, Shelby Township acting Fire Chief Jim Swinkowski is urging extra caution when using fireworks.
Swinkowski said that residents should use extra concern around fireworks, as recent weather conditions have made for a potentially volatile environment.
“It’s hot and dry, and you add a little wind to it, and everything gets worse,” Swinkowski said, citing a seven-day sample that saw two brushfire calls in 2010 and three in 2011 with an increase to 13 in 2012. “These weren’t all exactly related to fireworks, but the risk is there.”
The release warns residents that “grass and vegetation is extremely dry and may easily ignite. The use of fireworks in the past has (led) to an increase in grass, brush, vehicle and structure fires. The person(s) igniting these fireworks is ultimately responsible for any adverse outcomes.”
Swinkowski said fireworks that were then-illegal but are now legal under the Firework Safety Act were responsible for a fire that burned down a garage at the King of Kings Lutheran Church at 47500 Schoenherr Road and at least one vehicle fire last year.
“The old (fireworks), nothing could move or bounce,” Swinkowski said. “Now, the new ones, people will be firing things off and don’t know where it’s going to go.”
Swinkowski urged residents to make sure water is available, such as with a garden hose, when using fireworks and to remember that even under the new state laws fireworks are still prohibited from being used in public places, such as streets, parking lots and municipal parks.
“Acting Chief Jim Swinkowski and the Shelby Township Fire Department continue to do an excellent job being proactive to make sure that our community and residents are safe,” Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis said.
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