City warns against homegrown displays

Published 9:59 pm Tuesday, June 30, 2009

As Suffolk prepares for its Independence Day celebration, city officials are warning residents to let the professionals be in charge of the fireworks.

Suffolk’s sanctioned fireworks displays will be held at 9 p.m. at Constant’s Wharf Park and Marina and in Crittenden at 9 p.m. over the river.

Any other fireworks in the city will be illegal ones, according to Suffolk spokesperson Debbie George. Neither their sale nor their use are legal in the city, she stated in a press release.

“There are many risks associated with the use, manufacture, and storage of fireworks,” acting Fire Marshal James N. Dickens said. “Fireworks labeled ‘safe and sane’ are neither. By design, fireworks and sparklers will explode or throw off showers of hot sparks with temperatures possibly exceeding 1,200 degrees.”

More fires in the U.S. are reported on July 4 than on any other day of the year, according to the National Fire Protection Association, which notes that half of those fires are fireworks-related.

In 2005, fireworks caused an estimated 1,800 total structure fires and 700 vehicle fires reported to fire departments. These 2,500 fires resulted in an estimated 60 civilian injuries and $39 million in direct property damage.

In 2006, U.S. hospitals treated an estimated 9,200 people for injuries related to fireworks.

Independence Day events

Even without the homegrown fireworks shows, Suffolk residents should have plenty of opportunities to have some fun on the Fourth. Festivities are lined up both downtown and in North Suffolk.

The CE&H Ruritan Club and Ebenezer United Methodist Church plan their annual blowout beginning with opening ceremonies and music at 10:30 a.m., followed by a bicycle and float parade at 11:30 a.m. The parade will assemble on the baseball field on Eclipse Drive. Helmets are mandatory for all cyclists.

Food will be sold inside Ebenezer’s Family Life Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and outside, near the playground, from 6 to 9 p.m.

There will be free rides and games on the middle soccer fields from noon to 3 p.m., and the much-anticipated raft race on Chuckatuck Creek begins at 3 p.m.

From 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Nate Sparks and the Pamunkey River Ramblers will provide musical entertainment.

Across town, the Stars and Stripes Spectacular begins at Constant’s Wharf at 5 p.m. with concessions and live music by Island Boy.

The park is located behind the Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center at 100 E. Constance Road.

Closures

In accordance with state policies, nearly all Suffolk offices will be closed on Friday and Saturday, as will all commonwealth of Virginia agencies and offices.

The city’s libraries will reopen at 9 a.m. on Monday, and the Suffolk Museum will reopen at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. The Suffolk Tourism Visitor Center will remain open both July 3 and 4.

All four of the city’s major parks will remain open all weekend, but no park attendants will be on duty.

Suffolk’s public works department will follow a normal trash pick-up schedule for the remainder of the week. Trash must be placed at the curb no later than 7 a.m. on the day of collection.