Deputies looking for drunk drivers

Law enforcement and fire officials warned against dangerous activities this holiday weekend, namely drunk driving and using fireworks.

Extra deputies will be on the streets enforcing traffic laws and watching for drunk drivers, thanks to a grant from the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety.

Beginning Friday and continuing through Tuesday, the Carson City Sheriff's Department is participating in DUI enforcement over the Fourth of July weekend.

"We'll be out in strength," said Sheriff Kenny Furlong. "I am adamant I do not want to lose anyone to a DUI arrest or accident. Please be careful."

All fireworks, from sparklers to firecrackers to aerial displays are illegal in Carson City, Douglas and Lyon counties.

"Here is it we're coming into our hot time as far as seasonal temperatures. It's in the 90s, with very little humidity, the wind is there. The alignment of those conditions creates for a high fire hazard scenario, so when you put a firework into that alignment, then we've got a fire," said Assistant Carson City Fire Chief Bruce Van Cleemput. "We have had some very devastating fires and seen the fires burning pretty readily right now."

The penalty for being in possession of or using fireworks is up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. If you cause a fire you could be held liable for the cost of damages and the cost of fire suppression, Van Cleemput said.

A study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission finds nearly 70 percent of all fireworks-related injuries take place around the Fourth of July holiday. The study also found that more than 50 percent of those injuries occur to children and teenagers. The top three injury-causing fireworks are firecrackers, sparklers and rockets. Those fireworks account for nearly half of all injuries.

CPSC has reports of eight deaths associated with fireworks during 2004. Two victims were killed in incidents involving aerial devices. In the first of these incidents, a man was killed when the device exploded in his face and his shirt caught on fire. In the second aerial device incident, part of a launching tube traveled about 150 feet and struck the victim.

Two victims were killed in house fires where fireworks were thrown into the house. Firecrackers were involved in the first incident and an artillery shell type of firework in the second. Two people were killed with homemade devices. Shrapnel from one device traveled 60 or 70 feet at a Fourth of July party striking the victim in the chest.

The other homemade device exploded while the victim was building it. Finally, two victims who were launching fireworks from their car were fatally burned when the interior of the car ignited, according to the report.

n Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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