Erie County bomb technicians give graphic fireworks demonstration

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Erie County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad held a graphic and explosive demonstration on Thursday.

The Bomb Squad tried to recreate a human hand using ballistic gelatin and dish gloves. Officers then placed the simulated human hand next to an M-80. After the remote detonation, there was nothing left of it. Even the block of wood it was attached to was left splintered from the type of explosive that many Western New Yorkers continue to buy illegally each year.

“You’re dealing with something that was manufactured five thousand miles away from here, transported, probably a couple years old before it’s even sold to you, and then you’re lighting it,” said Deputy Dan Walczak.

The Bomb Squad seizes a few thousand pounds of illegal fireworks each year. Women & Children’s Hospital Pediatric Surgeon Kathryn Bass sees the injuries each year.

“The most common form of injury that we see are burns and the burns tend to be to the hands and face. Children are curious. They’ll want to pick up or hold the explosive and they don’t have the understanding of how hot they get, and so burns are the most common injury we see,” said Dr. Bass.

Police also want you to consider the danger you pose to other people. On July 4, 1997, Buffalo firefighter Michael Seguin was killed when a roof collapsed on him on Kehr Street. Buffalo Fire commissioner Garnell Whitfield says Seguin was fighting a fire that investigators believe was caused by a bottle rocket that fell on a rooftop.

“And so every Fourth of July we have to remember that, we have to remember his sacrifice and that happens all too often in the fire service. So we would ask you to just help us and help you make sure they get home safely also,” Whitfield pleaded. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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