The Maryland fire marshal's office reported yesterday that at least 17 people were injured by fireworks in the state during the July Fourth holiday period.
Deputy Fire Marshal Bob Thomas said 15 of the injuries occurred on Independence Day, with the other two in the two-week period before the holiday.
Fourteen people suffered burns, two people suffered eye injuries and a 3-year-old Essex, Md., girl lost the fingers of her right hand when a firecracker she was holding exploded.
Prince George's County reported the most incidents, with seven people suffering burns from illegal fireworks. Thomas said Montgomery County reported four people burned by fireworks.
Thomas said 17 is the second highest number of injuries recorded since the fire marshal's office began keeping records in 1983. The highest number was 24, in 1986.
Authorities made several arrests and confiscated thousands of illegal fireworks and explosive devices, Thomas said.
Yesterday's figures are preliminary because they do not include reports from Baltimore and Baltimore County. Thomas said a final report is expected in a few weeks. In most parts of Maryland, the only legal fireworks are gold-labeled sparklers and those that do not contain chlorates and perchlorates. All fireworks are illegal in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Baltimore.