Suffolk's proposed "sparkler" bill has fizzled out, at least for now.
Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) Monday withdrew the resolution to make sparklers legal in the county around Independence Day and New Year's after notifying fire officials, who opposed the move, Friday.
"I have concluded that it would be inappropriate to change our laws governing the use of fireworks without the support of the county's fire services and emergency responders," he said, adding "there isn't much support" in the legislature, either.
However, Gregory said he is not totally giving up and will "try to set up meetings with the [fireworks] industry and fire departments about their concerns and see if maybe some changes could be made in the way the law is constructed." Firefighters, he said, raised concerns about issues including storage. However, he said such changes would need state legislation.
Others, however, say the legislation is a dud and should not be revived. "I'd rather not see it come back. It's not worth the risk or the danger," said Legis. Kara Hahn (D-Setauket). "I'd like to just see us pour water on it."
Gregory put forward the proposal in March after state legislation gave cities and counties outside New York City the option to legalize sales of wood sparklers and several other types of ground displays before the July Fourth and New Year's Eve holidays.
State and local firefighters opposed the change, saying sparklers can burn as hot as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit and such novelty items accounted for the 34 percent of the 9,600 fireworks injuries treated in emergency rooms nationwide in 2011.
Robert McConville, president of the Firemen's Association of the State of New York, representing 90,000 volunteers, was pleased by the bill's demise, but vowed to "remain vigilant" out of concern that the industry will keep pressing to legalize fireworks. "We are going to keep our eye on it and our ear to the ground," said McConville, also a Selden fire official.
Jonathan Weinstein, a spokesman for the Alabama-based TNT Fireworks, the nation's largest producer, called sparklers "a safe American tradition" and legalizing them would provide increased tax revenue and reduce the number of people going out of state to buy illegal fireworks. Backers estimate $3.14 million in Suffolk sparkler sales could net $266,000 in state and local sales tax.
"We fully expect that Suffolk County will realize the value of allowing the sale of safe sparklers in the near future and allow residents to join with the 95 percent of Americans who already have access" to them, he added.