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This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation



Friday, 2 November 2007, 21:59 GMT
Chief calls for new fireworks law

The fire chief in Oxfordshire wants the law changed to make it illegal for individuals to buy fireworks.

John Parry's call came after a house in Ramsay Road, Headington, was set on fire on Wednesday night by a "rocket".

A couple with two young children - asleep upstairs at the time of the midnight blaze - escaped unhurt after being alerted by a smoke detector.

He said the illegal sale of fireworks was also an issue and too many were being improperly stored.

Rogue traders

However, he said new issues have arisen such as the illegal sale of the pyrotechnics.

"Two rogue traders were arrested in the Oxford area in the last seven days by the county council's trading standards unit and police, so there is a big issue out there," he told the BBC.

"The British Fireworks Association has estimated that 20% of the fireworks sold in this country are sold illegally."

"The authorities are recovering more every year but one has to ask how many are not being recovered.

"The other issue is there is no national collation of the misuse of fireworks or accidents, and that is really needed now."

Injuries that can arise from improper storage, was another concern, he said.

The fire chief said that while he hopes it does not take a death before regulations are reviewed but added: "One has to look at the history of fire related legislation and sadly, that is the case".