Moffat Mugwe

Health officials are asking soon-to-be revelers to remember that fireworks are much safer from a distance.

According to statistics compiled by the Florida Department of Health, 56 South Floridians visited the emergency room because of firework accidents last year. Sixteen of those individuals had injuries that were bad enough to require an overnight stay.

The most common injuries were severe burns, though more serious accidents can happen.

Carla Javier / WLRN

The TNT Fireworks Superstore in Dania Beach has been open around the clock since July 2nd to handle the Fourth of July holiday rush.

Marketing manager Itzhak Dickstein says the company hired an extra 200 employees to manage the steep increase in customers.

To buy fireworks, customers first have to navigate police-directed traffic and find parking among the businesses near the Broward County fireworks store. 

Jennifer Bruner spent her 4th of July much like the rest of us: celebrating with friends at a backyard barbecue. Little did she know how her life would change in a matter of seconds on that fateful evening.

"I went over to a friend's house for a barbecue on the 4th of July," Bruner recalls, "And my friends were out on the pier lighting fireworks. One firework tipped over when it was lit and it was supposed to shoot up, but it went sideways shooting at me and this little girl."

Patience Haggin

For Miami-Dade residents, fireworks may be illegal, but they are easy to get. At Phantom Fireworks in Key Largo, the week leading up to the Fourth of July is the busiest time of the year.

The pyrotechnics outlet draws customers not only from the Keys, but also from Miami-Dade County, where many of the store’s explosives cannot be sold legally.

The shop has seen about 1,000 customers per day and has stayed open until one AM for the past week, according to store manager Kary Singh.