Firecrackers a no-no in Washington

Published on Wed, Jul 1, 2009 by Tara Nelson

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Local law and fire officials are advising consumers to exercise caution when purchasing fireworks this Fourth of July.

North Whatcom Fire and Rescue fire marshal Jim Bleecker said NWFR along with Blaine police seized approximately 70 illegal fireworks Monday from Discount Fireworks Company, which supplies a local fireworks stand.

Officials were acting on a tip from the Whatcom County fire marshal’s office that a local fireworks stand was selling illegal fireworks at two other stands in Whatcom County and the distributor was suspected to be supplying a stand in Blaine.

On arrival, officials found 33 “C4 X” and 36 “C4 Double X” brand fireworks. The fireworks are a class C firework, which are federally legal but because they contain firecrackers, they are illegal in the state of Washington. The fireworks seized were manufactured by the Great Grizzly Fireworks Company.

The fireworks were confiscated and taken to a disposal site where they were destroyed.

“Everyone needs to look very carefully at what they’re buying or selling,” Bleecker said. “It might state they’re a class C firework but they need to look at the label on every firework and if it says it contains firecrackers, it’s not legal.”

Bleecker added that fireworks can be discharged in areas with no bans or restrictions from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. until July 5, except for July 4 when fireworks can be discharged between 9 a.m. and midnight.

Fines for possession of illegal fireworks can range from $100 to $500 in some cities.

Bleecker said if individuals have questions about the fireworks they purchased they are advised to call the fire marshal’s office at 318-9933 or visit

The following is a list of helpful guidelines to help keep your celebrations safe and legal:

• Novelty and smoke items
• Sparklers and spinners
• Multi-aerials
• Helicopters
• Cones and fountains
• Roman candles
• Wheels

Legal on tribal lands
• Firecrackers and chasers
• Bottle rockets
• Missiles and rockets

• M-80s or larger
• Cherry bombs
• Tennis ball bombs
• Altered legal fireworks

Safety tips:
• Have an adult light all fire   
• Keep all fireworks out of
reach of young children.
• Check with local fire
departments for additional
restrictions in your area.
• Purchase only legal fireworks
at licensed stands.
• Keep a bucket of water near
by in which to place all used
fireworks. Have a water hose or
fire extinguisher nearby to pull
out stray sparks.
• Use eye protection.
• Light one at a time and move
away quickly.
• Stop, drop and roll if clothes
catch fire.
• If a fireworks item does not
light or fire, an adult should
wait 15 minutes, approach it
carefully and place it in a
bucket of water.