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Legal fireworks sales slow heading into July 4

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Maybe people aren't in the mood yet, or the sluggish economy has people less eager to spend.

Whatever the reason, at least one area fireworks seller says that business is much slower than a long fuse.

"This is the worst year I've seen," said proprietor Ellen Pearlman at her Phantom Fireworks tent on the 2500 block of Dawson Road.

"Last year they were buying $400 (worth) of fireworks a day,"

Pearlman said. "Now it is just $40 a day. The economy is just bad."

Whatever the reason, Pearlman said she wishes Georgia officials would get with the program like Alabama.

"Georgia needs to allow sales of real firecrackers and skyrockets, like Alabama," Pearlman said. "The state would get the sales tax."

Sparklers and similar non-explosive fireworks are legal in Georgia, Albany Police Department spokeswoman Phyllis Banks said. The sale and use of most types of fireworks, such as firecrackers, M-80s, cherry bombs or anything that becomes airborne, is illegal.

Use of illegal fireworks could cost violators a maximum fine of $1,000 and put them in jail for a year.

That didn't seem to bother one man shopping, or at least looking, at Phantom Fireworks displays Thursday. He didn't want his name used for obvious reasons.

The man said he wasn't going to buy any of the many kinds of non-airborne fireworks on sale for prices ranging from 99 cents to $199 under the tent.

He said he would get bottle rockets and cherry bombs for the Fourth, no matter that they were illegal.

Even limiting one's celebration to legal fireworks can be dangerous, said an e-mail from Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John W. Oxendine. He urges extreme caution in the use of fireworks.

"Fireworks should only be used with close adult supervision," Oxendine said. "Sparklers can burn at temperatures as high as 1,800 degrees, and must be used properly."

Banks recommended that residents get their fill of rockets red glare at the city's 9:30 p.m. Sunday fireworks festivities at the Albany Civic Center.