Reprieve for old July 4 shows

March 02, 1992

Trying to toughen fireworks regulations, state fire officials have drafted rules so rigorous that many communities feared they would have to cancel this year's Fourth of July shows.

But in recent days, the draft rules received such a negative reaction that they're being redrawn to exempt some traditional shows -- while making it much harder for new shows in built-up areas to be authorized.

So demanding were the initial proposals, for example, that annual shows at Memorial Stadium and in such communities as Catonsville and Glen Burnie most likely would have been put out of business.

Stringent new state codes regulating fireworks displays were recommended by fire officials after national safety standards were beefed up in 1990, said Robert B. Thomas, spokesman for the state fire marshal's office.

Mr. Thomas said that in its revised regulations the fire marshal's office will recommend exempting long-standing shows -- leaving to local officials the decision of whether to issue permits for the traditional shows.

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