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Firework safety highest concern for Miss-Lou

Robbie’s Fireworks stand employee Amanda Menendez looks over the inventory of fire works as New Years Eve approaches. (Devonte Demby / The Natchez Democrat)

Robbie’s Fireworks stand employee Amanda Menendez looks over the inventory of fire works as New Years Eve approaches. (Devonte Demby / The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — As New Years approaches, safety is the top priority for Justin and Amanda Menendez of Robbie’s Fireworks on U.S. 61 North.

“Never light a firework with a lighter,” said Justin standing next to an array of fireworks. “Always use a stick to light fireworks — it’s just to be safe.”

Justin said using a stick to light fireworks will give the user more time to back away before the firework takes off into the sky.

“Fireworks can be a lot of fun, you just have to be safe,” Justin said.

Amanda said her children, Tyler Menendez, 4, and Jasmine Menendez, 8, love fireworks — but it only pushes her and Justin to be more cautious.

Justin does not let Tyler or Jasmine near lighters, instead, he and Amanda light the big fireworks themselves.

“We just make sure everything is secure and that they are safe,” Amanda said.

Officials throughout the Miss-Lou urge safety and supervision when working with fireworks as the New Year approaches.

Natchez Police Department Detective Jerry Ford said the City of Natchez does not allow explosive and noise-making fireworks within the city.

“It’s against the law,” Ford said. “Residents can use fireworks anywhere outside of city limits that is not prohibited. If a person is caught popping fireworks inside city limits, we will give them a warning.

“But if they are caught or continue using fireworks, they can be fined or arrested.”

In Adams County, residents are allowed to use fireworks, but must practice safety precautions, Natchez Fire Department Battalion Chief David Williams said.

“Kids should always have an adult with them,” Williams said. “If the (firework stem) looks like it’s going out, don’t approach it, it could be a delayed reaction.”

Williams encourages area residents to stay away from homes and trees when shooting fireworks.

“Fireworks have caused some fires in the area,” Williams said. “Make sure you use them in an area that’s not too close to your home.”

Fireworks are allowed throughout Concordia Parish, but in the City of Vidalia, explosive and noise-making fireworks are normally not allowed within city limits.

“The mayor does allow fireworks on New Years up until midnight,” Vidalia Police Department Assistant Chief Bruce Wiley said. “Just be safe, be responsible and supervise your children.”

Although the City of Vidalia allows fireworks on special occasions such as New Years, Wiley recommended for city residents to go to the professional fire works show, which takes place at 8 p.m. Wednesday.

If someone is injured by fireworks, local authorities throughout the Miss-Lou urge citizens to dial 911 or go to their nearest hospital for treatment.