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Pelham, NH Fire Chief Calls For Reloadable Fireworks Ban After Accident

By Michael Rosenfield, WBZ-TV
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PELHAM, NH (CBS) – At Alamo Fireworks in Londonderry, New Hampshire reloadable fireworks are big business.

Pop a mortar in a tube, light the fuse, and get away. If it’s done correctly, you have a fireworks display that lights up the sky.

Chris Kivlin, manager at Alamo, says reloadable mortars are safe.

“It’s all about common sense,” said Kivlin. “Read the directions.”

But James Midgley, fire chief in Pelham, New Hampshire says reloadable mortars are too dangerous and need to be banned.

“These are highly explosive devices,” said Midgley.

A 24-year-old man, now listed in fair condition at a Boston hospital, sustained a major injury to his hand at a holiday party in Pelham over the weekend.

Investigators say this was likely a case of operator error. The 24-year-old inserted the mortar upside down and lit it.

The state’s fire marshal, Bill Degnan, tells WBZ-TV he’d like to see an all-out ban on fireworks in New Hampshire but acknowledges it’ll never happen because the lobby is too strong, but ending the use of reloadable mortars is critical to spare more injuries.

“For them to even think about a ban on them it’s sad,” said Eric Cushing, a fireworks customer who says he has used reloadable mortars for years without any problems. “Common sense is all you need.”

It would be an uphill battle to take reloadables off the shelves in New Hampshire. Similar efforts in the past have fizzled.

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