July 4th: Firefighters anticipating brush fires, fireworks injuries

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Firefighters across the state were on standby for a busy Fourth of July, not only anticipating brush fires but injuries caused by fireworks.

On every Fourth, Brad Rucshner plays with fireworks.

“Be careful or you will lose a finger,” Rucshner said.

The Eatonville man is talking from experience.

“Firecracker got my finger,” Rucshner said.

He says he made the mistake of lighting a firecracker while holding on to it several years ago.

“Don’t take the chance. Like I said, it’s a big kaboom -- even the little one,” Rucshner said.

It’s good advice and a reminder to everyone on Monday.

Late Saturday night in an Olympia neighborhood, a firework exploded, injuring two people, including a 40-year-old man who was hovering over the firework.

West Thurston Fire says the man lit an aerial firework when it didn’t go off, he went back to reignite the "dud," and that’s when it exploded.

“Intensive injuries to the hand, he also had injuries of shrapnel nature to his face, his arms, chest legs and groin,” West Thurston Fire Captain Lanette Dyer said.

Firefighters say one of the most common mistakes is exactly what the man in Olympia did.

“When you light a firework and it doesn’t explode like you intended ... the first thing is to remember not to reignite,” Riverside Fire & Rescue firefighter David Maniago said.

Maniago showed Q13 News the proper way to enjoy fireworks.

First, he says, find a concrete area with minimal vegetation. After lighting the firework on the ground, get to a safe distance and always have backup in case something goes wrong.

“Charged garden hose, a bucket of water, if you have a water extinguisher, get in place in case something were to ignite,” Maniago said.

Firefighters say lately they've noticed a lot more people who are 36 years and older getting injured due to fireworks.

The ,man injured in Olympia was listed in satisfactory condition as of Monday.