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Fireworks Selling Fast And Furious
Having opened promptly at noon on Thursday, the fireworks sales booth at O'Brien's Market run by the Community Praise Tabernacle was doing good business by late afternoon when prospective buyers were on their way home.

"This is our biggest and best," noted Mario and Sylvia Jimenez, holding up the "Opening Show" pack. "This is intended for the finale (despite its name). It throws the highest, is the most colorful and has the maximum amount of gunpowder allowed by law."

At $59.99, it also was their most expensive package. But the booth offered many cheaper packages ranging from 99 cents for sparklers which the children could hold to tried and tested packs also for children at $12.99 up to $29.99 and $39.99 for a modest family pack.

Curiously enough, they added, it appeared theirs was the only booth in town stocked with TNT fireworks, all the others selling Phantom Company wares.

Noon on Thursday was the time set by local firefighters for beginning sales once they had inspected all the booths for safety.

Traditionally, the City of Riverbank issues fireworks sales licenses only to non-profit groups that see the occasion as their largest fundraiser. Most of the six groups licensed this year have placed their booths along Patterson Road easily visible from the highway.

Fire officials note these booths carry fireworks that are legal and meet the "safe and sane" guidelines but still ask purchasers to show caution and common senses in setting them off.

The Nation Council on Fireworks Safety recommends:

Only operate fireworks outdoors.

Keep a hose or bucket of water handy.

Don't alter or combine fireworks.

Never relight a dud but soak it in a water bucket for 20 minutes.

Stay a safe distance away in case a firework shoots off in the wrong direction.

Keep pets indoors to avoid them being terrified, running away or getting injured.

Keep fireworks away from dry grass, brush, and houses.