Fireworks Dangerous According to State Fire Chief

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Friday, July 4, 1913: Wasn’t much celebrating done at this house today. I saw a balloon go up or rather I saw it after it had gone up. Saw a few fireworks this evening, but that was at a distance.

Source: Milton Evening Standard (July 2, 1913(
Source: Milton Evening Standard (July 2, 1913)


Says Care Should Be Taken to Safeguard Life and Property on the Fourth

The department of the state fire marshal at Harrisburg has issued the following Fourth of July proclamation:

The Fourth of July, which is and should be a day of patriotic rejoicing has become a day of apprehension and terror to all persons who have any concern for the safety of life and property. It is a day when fire departments in all cities and towns are generally kept on the run. The people have not yet learned the significance of the day in its highest and best sense. They have not yet learned the noise is not patriotism. Other countries show their patriotism in a more quiet manner with considerably less loss of life and property and this country in the earlier days celebrated the Fourth of July by the unfurling of the stars and stripes, a salute of guns, ringing of church bells and patriotic songs and speeches. . .

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Sounds like Grandma had a pleasant and safe 4th.

A hundred years ago many leaders thought that electric light displays could be a modern replacement for fireworks. You might enjoy reading this post I did last year:

Are Fireworks  Old-Fashioned?

23 thoughts on “Fireworks Dangerous According to State Fire Chief

  1. Hmmm… Grandma seemed a little disappointed that there wasn’t much celebrating done there. Glad she saw some fireworks from a distance though.
    Happy 4th!

  2. I love fireworks, but at the same time they scare me. I’m in a family that loves to celebrate with fireworks. :/ Fireworks that go in the air just became legal here last year for purchase by whomever so, ugh, everyone is lighting off fireworks all summer. And we have a neighbor (not too close, we’re in a slightly rural area) who has decided to shoot off several firecrackers at a time EVERY AFTERNOON this summer.
    I guess I just wish people would celebrate more safely and respectful of others so that we could all enjoy (instead of complaining like I just did 🙂 ).
    Happy 4th of July!

    1. Fireworks are a lot of fun–though some sort of balance is needed. Your comment reminded me a dog we used to have who hid in the basement for most of the evening each year on July 4 because the fireworks noise frightened him.

  3. Fireworks seen from a distance in those days was probably a very good idea. I wonder if they are really any safer now. Interesting she mentioned balloons going up. I wonder if she meant peopled hot air varieties or just little party balloons. We have the people riding kind here for $200 an hour. Imagine?

  4. Our Fireworks celebration, here in South Australia, was also in our summer on the 5th November… “Guy Fawkes Day” in remembrance of when Guy Fawkes, and his cronies, attempted to blow up the British Parliament.
    It was heaps of fun… I loved it!!! However, this all ended about 1973 because of the fire danger, injury to children… etc… 😦 … SPOILSPORTS!!! 😉 …

  5. We had a 7 a.m. flag raising this morning, with patriotic songs and speeches and prayer. No guns, but several veterans in uniform. Now it’s off to the parade. I like to think our small-town celebration comes close to the way the Fourth was celebrated a hundred years ago.

  6. I remember firework night from my childhood (in Australia held to celebrate the Queen’s birthday) with fondness as there was always a bonfire and much merriment. However, the government banned fireworks in my teens and it has not been the same since.

    1. It sounds like it once was a lot of fun, and it’s sad they don’t allow fireworks any more. I’m amazed that they don’t have fireworks in Australia.

    1. It’s wonderful to hear that you liked it. I’m glad you asked about what the 4th of July was like a hundred years ago. I’ve enjoyed revisiting these old posts.

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