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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Public Safety Dept. backs new fireworks bill

Lt. Ismael Cartagena, at right, director of the Police Bureau’s Explosives Division

By John McPhaul

The Department of Public Safety expressed its approval Monday of a House measure that seeks to create a new regulatory law on the sale and use of pyrotechnics or fireworks in Puerto Rico.

House Bill 584 – filed by Reps. Ángel Bulerín Ramos and Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Núñez – proposes to repeal the Fireworks Law of Puerto Rico (Law 83-1963) in order to establish in its place the “Law on the Sale and Use of Pyrotechnics and Fireworks in Puerto Rico.”

The new statute will regulate the possession, manufacture, sale, distribution and issuance of licenses and permits for the use of pyrotechnics or fireworks on the island, because, according to the explanatory statement, Law 83 is not “clear enough” in its intention regarding the different devices on the market today and is not in accordance with federal regulations.

Both the Puerto Rico Police Bureau and the Firefighters Bureau suggested, in a joint presentation, that the bill incorporate amendments to the language to avoid duplication of efforts in the agencies that regulate the use and distribution of pyrotechnic material.

“What we want to avoid is duplication. In this case, it is our duty and responsibility to conduct the inspection as well,” said Lt. Ismael Cartagena, director of the Police Bureau’s Explosives Division.

Cartagena also told the Public Safety Committee chaired by Rep. Luis “Narmito” Ortiz Lugo that despite being required by law to do so, many times municipalities do not comply with the annual requests for use of professional fireworks that must be filed with the Police as well as with the Fire Department.

Such cases occur particularly in the celebrations of the traditional patron saint festivities, he said.

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