By Jimmie Ferguson

Killeen Daily Herald

Your bang this Independence Day could cost big bucks as well as your freedom.

Fire marshals throughout the area emphasize that it is against city ordinances to transport, possess or discharge fireworks within city limits, or within 5,000 feet of city limits.

This law applies to all Texas cities, and those caught in violation could be fined up to $2,000, said Fire Inspector Horace Wiggins of the Killeen Fire Department.

Fireworks have caused problems in the past with fires and injuries, Wiggins said, noting that the reason for the ban is public safety.

Although fireworks can be discharged in the county, the fire marshals warn that this is private property, and if someone discharges fireworks without permission from the owners, they are responsible for any damages.

Fire officials urged residents to watch professional fireworks displays instead.

Killeen, Harker Heights and Nolanville firefighters will be out and about this holiday assisting the police in catching fireworks law violators.

If anyone is caught discharging fireworks, the items will be confiscated and a warning will be issued, provided the act is of a minor nature, Wiggins said.

"If someone is caught discharging fireworks that cause a fire, the individual or individuals may be held responsible for the damages incurred," Wiggins said.

For safety reasons, the following tips are provided when using fireworks:

n Always read and follow labeled directions.

n Have an adult present.

n Always have water handy a garden hose and a bucket.

n Never experiment or make your own fireworks.

n Light only one at a time.

n Never give fireworks to children.

n Never carry fireworks in your pocket.

n Never shoot fireworks in metal or glass containers.

n The shooter should always wear eye protection and never have any part of the body over the fireworks.

n Buy fireworks only from licensed retail outlets.

n Don't buy fireworks that do not have a safety label on either the product or package.

n Before you light fireworks, get permission from the property owner.

n Use fireworks outdoors, on a flat surface away from dry grass and buildings.

n Never point or throw fireworks at people or animals.

n Don't re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.

n Store fireworks in a cool, dry place.

n Dispose of fireworks safely.

Contact Jimmie Ferguson at

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