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DC man's death due to fireworks ruled accidental

DC Police is warning the District after a man died while igniting fireworks Friday evening.

WASHINGTON — A man died igniting fireworks Friday evening in the District, and DC Police wants residents to "leave the fireworks to the professionals."

DC Police responded to the 800 block of Jefferson Street, Northwest, to find a man who had significant injuries and in desperate need of medical attention, according to officials.

DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services took the man to the hospital, but doctors and medical personnel were unable to save the man's life due to the injuries he sustained. 

In a press conference Monday, Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said the man had suffered a severe injury to his head.

"This goes to show just how dangerous these illegal fireworks can be," Newsham said.

The man's death has been ruled accidental

57% of firework injuries include a variety of burns to the human body, added DC officials in a Tweet. 

Bowser said the city will activate Go Teams that will be out on the streets of D.C. to educate residents on firework safety. The Go Teams will work closely with FEMS and other agencies to check on areas where they are concerned about firework use. Safety teams were assigned to 17 neighborhoods, Bowser said.

This initiative is to ensure residents are safe and are properly educated on legal and illegal fireworks in the city, Bowser said. 

Last year there were nine serious reported incidents involving multiple children and just this year four incidents were reported related to illegal fireworks, including an 11-year-old girl with second-degree burns on her shoulder and neck, officials said.

Officials urge residents to take precautions when lighting fireworks and ask that people never allow children to touch them, to read instructions thoroughly, clear of the area before igniting, have a bucket of water nearby, and to never relight fireworks.

Here's a list of fireworks that are permitted and not permitted in the District in accordance with FEMS guidance:

Illegal Fireworks

  • Any fireworks that move or shoots projectiles
  • Any fireworks that explodes
  • Any fireworks that emit sparks or flames that are larger than 12-feet

Legal Fireworks

  • Sparklers less than 20 inches
  • Torches
  • Box fires
  • Fountains
  • Dipsticks
  • Paper novelty items
  • Colored light
  • Paper caps

To request a safety team in a D.C. neighborhood, residents can contact the Fire Marshall Office at 202-727-1614.

In 2017, eight people died and over 12,000 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents. Of these, 50% of the injuries were to children and young adults under age 20. Over two-thirds (67%) of injuries took place from June 16 to July 16., according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Additionally, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires.

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