For many people 4th of July isn't complete without American Flags, hot dogs on the grill, and seeing some fireworks light up the night sky. However Ocean County officials from the fire, police, and prosecutors office are reminding residents that illegal fireworks are dangerous, unreliable, and most importantly illegal.

While most residents are aware that fireworks are illegal, fire officials at the County training academy in Waretown demonstrated just how destructive a small amount of common fireworks can be.

Firefighters detonated a firework next to a cantaloupe to simulate the damage it could do to human flesh. The charge, akin to an M-80 made chunks of fruit fly a good two hundred feet without much trouble.

They then lit a small amount of sparklers, bottle rockets, and other hand held fireworks in the trunk of a car. The point is to simulate what could happen if fireworks are left in the back of a hot car and accidentally ignite.

 

The sedan became engulfed in flames within a matter of minutes, melting the insides almost instantaneously.

Ocean County Fire Marshall Dan Mulligan notes it doesn’t take much for such a devastating blaze to occur.

“The car had very little fireworks actually, it had mostly sparklers and one or two handheld roman candles and that was it. We saw in about two minutes the entire car was engulfed in flames.”

For the grand finale crews loaded a wooden shed with just a shopping bag of commonly purchased fireworks, and ignited it. The shed erupted in flames within moments and began billowing black smoke.

In addition to being dangerous, and destructive, Assistant Ocean County Prosecutor Bridget Coughlin says anyone caught even owning the illicit explosives faces serious consequences.

“The possession of a fire work is a disorderly persons offense punishable with up to 6 months in jail.” Adding that if you’re caught selling them “that is an even more serious crime. It’s a fourth degree offense that is punishable by up to eighteen months with up to ten thousand dollars worth of fines.”