State Fire Marshal Charles Duffy Warns of Dangers of Fireworks

Just in time for the Fourth of July holiday, the state announced that there were 264 fires caused by fireworks last year.

State Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy announced today that in 2011 there were 264 fires caused by fireworks.

Residential fires accounted for 89 fires with an estimated loss of over $568,846 dollars. These fires can be prevented if people using fireworks remember the three B’s of fireworks safety:

  • Be Prepared - Have water nearby and put pets indoors
  • Be Safe- Only adults should light fireworks
  • Be Responsible- Clean up fireworks debris

Using fireworks in a negligent or reckless manner can have criminal and/or legal consequences. Consequences range from being charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or even a felony. A gross misdemeanor can bring a fine of up to $5,000 and/or one year in prison. Possession of illegal explosive devices, such as M-80’s, a homemade device or an altered firework is both a state and federal offense.

Summer weather conditions make grasses and other vegetation dry and susceptible to fire. A person found responsible for a starting a wildland fire with fireworks can be required to pay restitution for the fire suppression costs and damages caused by the fire. This could be in the hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

Residents should talk with family members and guests about the fireworks laws for their area.  To learn more about fireworks ordinances in cities and counties and other information regarding fireworks, check the fireworks safety web site at http://www.wsp.wa.gov/fire/fireworks.htm.  Independence Day is a time to celebrate our freedoms. Celebrate it safely and legally.

-State Fire Marshal's Office


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