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Dedham Officials Oppose State Fireworks Bill

Fire Chief Bill Cullinane says it would be a safety hazard to legalize fireworks.

 

With politicians at the State House contemplating legalizing the sale and use of fireworks, Dedham officials spoke out against the proposed legislation. 

"I don't support that bill," Dedham Fire Chief Bill Cullinane said Thursday. "It's obvious that it's a safety hazard."

The bill, proposed by state Rep. Richard Bastien (R-Gardner), is in front of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security. It would allow town governments to issue licenses to sell fireworks and allow them to issue permits for the use of fireworks. 

Bastien told the Boston Globe that Massachusetts would see $40 million in fireworks sales and $2 million in sales tax revenue from the sales. 

In the interview, Bastien said the bill would clean up the "Wild West" atmosphere and give local fire safety officials more control.

But Cullinane disagreed.

"There would be three times as many people with fireworks out there," Cullinane said.

Cullinane also expressed worry that it wouldn't be professional pyrotechnicians that would use the fireworks.

"It's one thing if parents are lighting them off in a controlled environment, but unfortunately it attracts a lot of children," Cullinane said in a phone interview. "There are a lot of injuries. A lot of people can get maimed and blinded."

State Rep. Paul McMurtry didn't return calls for comment.

But it's not just safety that has other officials concerned. Board of Selectmen chairman Jim MacDonald said the town wouldn't have the additional manpower to process the permits and manage the license holders.

"The only time a town should be involved is if the state wants to issue a license in the community," MacDonald stated in an email to Dedham Patch on Thursday. "If the state wants to control every aspect, that is up to them."

MacDonald said he was concerned with storage of fireworks, setting them off in congested areas and the strain on public safety.

"I like fireworks just like everyone else. But I like them in the hands of properly licensed professionals," MacDonald said.

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