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Ulster County officials voice warning ahead of Independence Day

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Albany/HV: Ulster County officials voice warning ahead of Independence Day
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As many look forward to Independence Day fireworks across the region, YNN’s Alexandra Weishaupt tells us county officials are giving a warning about setting them off yourself.

ULSTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The New York State Bomb Disposal Unit conducts a dramatic demonstration with explosives. It’s an effort to highlight the dangers of fireworks to Ulster county residents and stress the importance of safety while celebrating Independence Day.

“The demonstration in itself speaks volumes. That was a watermelon with an M-100 and there’s nothing left of it but small pieces about the size of an inch or so. If that was somebody’s hand, there’s nothing left,” said Captain and Zone Commander of the New York State Police, Robert Nuzzo.

The explosive that was detonated Monday was under a controlled situation with a 50 second detonating cord. A normal fuse on an M-80 or M-100 is three to five seconds, which all the time it takes for an inexperienced person to become seriously injured.

“We take this very serious. We have seen many Ulster County residents hurt by illegal fireworks,” said Ulster County Undersheriff Frank Faluotico.

According to statistics, approximately 9,600 fireworks related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms last year.

“We have seen the loss of property, loss of limbs and the loss of life because of explosives,” said Faluotico.

And not only are fireworks dangerous, but they’re illegal in the state of New York. And come along with some hefty fines for those disobeying the law.

“We will prosecute those offenders who possess or sell illegal fireworks,” said Assistant District Attorney Jerry Van Loan.

Anyone who possesses, uses, or explodes fireworks including firecrackers and sparklers is guilty of a violation punishable by up to fifteen days in jail or a fine of up to $250 for each offense.

“The criminal penalties are even more severe for people who sell or give fireworks to another person, up to one year in jail and a fine up to $1000,” said County Executive Mike Hein.

And although officials say it’s difficult to enforce these laws, they say it’s important for people to realize the possession of fireworks is illegal for a reason.

“The punishment is not as severe as these things cause and that’s why they’re outlawed,” said Nuzzo.

Helping to keep residents of Ulster County safe through the upcoming holiday.

Fireworks displays will be taking place across Ulster County on July 4th:

WEDNESDAY, JULY 4th at Dusk
City of Kingston - on the Kingston Waterfront
Ellenville - behind Shop Rite
Saugerties - at Cantine Field

WEDNESDAY, JULY 4th at 9:20PM
Walkway Over the Hudson – at Highland Landing Park along Riverfront

SATURDAY, JULY 7th
New Paltz – at the Ulster County Fairgrounds

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