- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 4, 2002

BALTIMORE (AP) A kind of sparkler newly approved for use in Maryland caused extensive damage to a Harford County home, as firefighters braced for more accidents and injuries over the holiday.
A ground-based sparkler started a blaze that burned a home in Abingdon on Saturday, the state fire marshal said.
There were no injuries.
Four youths lit the sparkler in a car next to the home, authorities said. When they realized it could set the car on fire, they threw it out a window, and it landed in shrubbery, causing a fire to spread to the home.
The fire caused an estimated $225,000 in damage.
A new state law has made a certain type of larger sparkler legal, which has led to fireworks stands springing up around Baltimore.
It has also spurred apprehension among area fire investigators.
"We're preparing for the worst," said Anne Arundel Fire Capt. Allen Graves.
For more than a decade, Maryland had only allowed the use of handheld sparklers no bigger than chopsticks and two kinds of poppers the ones that explode with pieces of confetti and paper snakes, and the kind that make a snapping sound when thrown on the pavement.
While it seemed like a minor change to fireworks regulations at the time, the State Fire Marshal's Office has counted more than 1,000 variations on the new theme.
As distributors seek to expand their new market, firefighters say they're finding that the new legal sparklers are also being sold in variety packs with illegal cherry bombs, Roman candles and smoke grenades.
"There's quite a bit of misunderstanding. People think the state has made all fireworks legal," said Baltimore County Fire Capt. Rick DeFlavis.
Officials in some jurisdictions are looking to make changes in local fire codes to prevent the use of ground-based sparklers next year.
"We've already surpassed the number of accidents this year that we normally have," said Howard County Fire Capt. Timothy Diehl, "and the week hasn't even started."

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