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Fireworks on web worry fire marshals

June 27, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Fireworks can be purchased over the Internet this year, a source of worry for Maryland fire marshals as the Independence Day holiday approaches.

"Most of the fireworks companies doing business on the Internet have been selling by catalog for years,'' said Faron Young, a spokesman for the Maryland State Fire Marshal's office.

The idea of illegal fireworks coming into Maryland by way of the U.S. Postal Service or private mail carriers concerns fire marshals, who already have to contend with neighboring states with weaker laws.

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"It certainly doesn't make our job any easier,'' Young said.

The bottom line is the need to ensure that July 4th celebrations are not be marred by unnecessary injuries or worse, fire marshals said.

In Maryland, the only fireworks that are legal are gold label sparklers, snakes, snap 'n pops and party poppers, fire marshals said.

Additional types of fireworks are sold legally in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Maryland law makes it illegal to bring those fireworks across state lines.

Hagerstown Fire Marshal John Hersh said he has received sporadic reports of fireworks being set off in Hagerstown.

"And last weekend, police found 370 pieces of illegal fireworks in a pickup truck stopped in Hagerstown,'' Hersh said. That investigation is continuing, he said.

In Maryland, possession of illegal fireworks with the intent to use can result in a $250 fine. For the sale or distribution of illegal fireworks, the fine is $1,000 and forfeiture of all materials.

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