Graford held its fireworks show Thursday night without a single problem. However, private fireworks are believed to have contributed to a number of small
Graford held its fireworks show Thursday night without a single problem. However, private fireworks are believed to have contributed to a number of small fires around the county Thursday night. (Mark Engebretson)
County volunteer firefighters were kept busy Thursday night into early Friday morning with numerous calls for fires. Possum Kingdom East VFD responded to three fires, all suspected of being started by fireworks - one at The Harbor, one at the Highway 16 bridge below the dam and one at Gaines Bend. All three were quickly extinguished. Around 11 p.m. Thursday night, Graford VFD responded to a fire about five miles north of Graford along Highway 337. In addition, Lone Camp VFD responded to at least two fires. All were suspected to have been started by fireworks. Because of the dry conditions in all parts of Palo Pinto County, officials strongly urge caution as fires can easily start. According to the Center for Disease Control, over 7,000 people were treated in emergency rooms last year for firework related injuries. The highest rate of injuries occurred in children between the ages of 10-14 with the majority of those injuries involving extremities such as fingers, toes and arms. Some accidents were severe enough to cause death. It's recommended to use a black top or solid surface for launching fireworks and to avoid dry grassy land that can easily catch fire from a burning ember. Obviously, keep children and small pets away from fireworks at all times and do not start lighting fireworks until all children are accounted for. Make sure a qualified adult who has experience with fireworks is present.

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This person should know how to administer first aide and has a first aid kit nearby in case something goes wrong. Always read the instructions on all fireworks and heed the safety instructions to ensure compliance with what the manufacturer deems safe use. Not following the instructions on fireworks can result in an accident. Avoid lighting multiple fireworks at once. Firework manufacturers suggest that the individual lighting it should have proper safety equipment including a solid pair of gloves, waterproof boots, safety glasses, ear plugs and a fire blanket as precautions. It's also a good idea to have either a hose or bucket of water within reach in case a fire breaks out from a burning ember or fireworks that backfire. Adhering to a few helpful safety tips can help ensure a fun and injury free Independence Day. Never let children play with fireworks. Always discharge fireworks under adult supervision. Never purchase illegal fireworks, instead buy only from reputable dealers. Make sure a firehose is nearby. Never make your own fireworks. Use protective eye wear. Never relight a "dud" firework. Always use fireworks outside and far away from flammable materials. If an injury occurs, call 9-1-1 and remember not to rub eye injuries as it can cause more damage.