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A hearing to make the sale of sparklers legal in Suffolk County closed last week with the fate of the bill unclear, but backers say six upstate counties have already opted to make local holiday sales of sparklers legal.
Lisa Reid of Mercury Public Affairs said Orange, Saratoga, Montgomery, Washington and Chemung counties in the last three weeks have joined Essex, a county on the edge of Lake Champlain, in permitting sparkler sales and other ground displays. She added another 13 counties are expected to hold hearings or vote on similar legislation by mid-April.
Industry officials say it is safer to regulate rather than ban sparklers to insure safe practices. But a dozen local uniformed firefighters including three Suffolk volunteers who head statewide firefighting groups are asking lawmakers to keep the ban intact. They cited the dangers to youngsters of handling sparklers that can burn as hot at 1,200 degrees and to firefighters when they respond to a scene where fireworks are stored.