MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- There has been no major increase in fireworks-related problems so far this year, fire and hospital officials reported.
They warned it's too early to make definitive assessments but that no major incidences had been reported despite the legalization of some fireworks in Minnesota for the first time in 61 years.
Minnesota's ban on fireworks was eased April 30, permitting a host of nonflying, nonexploding fountains and sparklers on private property. With patriotism on the upsurge, authorities were bracing for the worst.
"We're relieved," said Ted Vanderbeek, a spokesman for the St. Paul Fire Department. "With the amount of fireworks potential out there, we were fairly lucky."
Two incidents of minor damage were reported in St. Paul, neither with injuries.
A 9-year-old and his cousins started a small fire on a second-story deck shortly before midnight. They were playing with legal fireworks and Vanderbeek said the fire was contained to the deck and railing and caused $3,000 in damage.
Juveniles also tossed an illegal bottle rocket on another second-floor deck, causing $8,000 in damage to a town house.
Besides those incidents, July 4 was mostly quiet except for the sound of fireworks popping in back yards and driveways across the state.
"Although not all our reports are in, we didn't see any dramatic increase," Minneapolis Deputy Fire Chief Scott Craigie said.
North Memorial Medical Center in Robbinsdale had five cases of minor hand burns and eye abrasions. "But that's about what we'd get in past years," said Cindy Olson, emergency room nurse.
Vanderbeek said many fireworks-related injuries, such as blisters from burns, might be treated at home, making them hard to track. State officials have asked hospitals to monitor fireworks injuries through July 15, "so it's too early for an assessment," said Bob Dahm, bureau chief of the state Fire Marshal's office.
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