State Fire Marshal’s Office warns of fireworks dangers

State Fire Marshal’s Office warns of fireworks dangers

1 July 2009

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With fireworks season and dry weather upon us, the state Fire Marshal’s Office on Tuesday urged South Sound residents to be safe with their Fourth of July celebrating.

If not, it could be a fiery, dangerous weekend.

Last year, 785 fireworks-related incidents caused $200,000 in property damage in the state. Fireworks sparked 518 fires during last year’s Fourth of July holiday.

While fireworks can legally be set off in some areas, trouble can happen when they’re set off in places where they are prohibited.

“Consequences range from being charged with malicious mischief to assault or a gross misdemeanor for possession of illegal explosive devices such as fireworks that have been tampered with or altered,” the Fire Marshal’s Office said in a news release.

Conviction of a gross misdemeanor can bring a fine of up to $5,000 and a year in prison. Possession of illegal explosives – such as M-80s, M-100s and altered fireworks – is a federal offense, the office noted.

If fireworks start a wildland fire, the person responsible can be on the hook to pay the suppression costs, which can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Fire Marshal’s Office also reminded people that fireworks sold on tribal lands might not be legal in their communities.

“Examples of fireworks legal to purchase and use on tribal lands, but not legal in Washington state, are bottle rockets, firecrackers and missiles,” the office reported.

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