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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

SAFE AND SANE FOURTH OF JULY

SAFE AND SANE FOURTH OF JULY

SAFE AND SANE FOURTH OF JULY was a movement started in Cleveland in 1908 to prevent the annual holiday injuries and deaths from fireworks. Earlier, in 1903, an explosion at the Thor Mfg. Co., a maker of fireworks located on Orange Ave., had demolished 12 buildings and killed 3 people. A more devastating threat to life was the yearly accidents; however, no action was taken until a counter of fireworks exploded in a local Kresge store as a result of a spark from a sparkler, which ignited a display flag. In the rush to escape from the store, scores were burned, while 5 clerks, a woman shopper, and the boy who was playing with the defective sparkler were trampled to death.

The Cleveland Congress of Mothers (see CLEVELAND COUNCIL OF PARENT-TEACHER ASSN'S.) mobilized all women's organizations in the city and influenced the city council to pass an ordinance in 1908 prohibiting fireworks in the city. The new law made Cleveland the first "safe and sane" city in America and served as a model for similar laws in other cities.