Leave fireworks to the pros | Editorial

It's the Fourth of July weekend, or as emergency responders might want to call it "disasters waiting to happen."


It’s the Fourth of July weekend, or as emergency responders might want to call it “disasters waiting to happen.”

The reason, of course, is fireworks. While legal in some areas (and still used everywhere else), they are a danger to people and property and should be avoided.

There were 414 fires statewide caused by fireworks over the Independence Holiday last year, according to Washington State Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy. The total loss was $1.4 million. That’s a lot, considering that many communities provide free fireworks shows that not only are more spectacular, but also far less dangerous for the public.

Despite calling some of them “safe and sane,” they are neither. The word “fire” in their name should be a clue.

People who use fireworks should remember that there are legal consequences for damages caused by their irresponsible use. That can 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.

Want more? A gross misdemeanor can bring a fine of up to $5,000 and/or one year in prison. And, possession of illegal explosive devices, such as M-80’s, M-100’s and larger, altered fireworks, and public display mortars, is a federal offense.

As bad as all of the above is, there’s a worse consequence: people using fireworks can be injured and/or maimed. Too often someone has to be rushed to an emergency room because of an exploding fireworks gone wrong. Eyes are destroyed, fingers mangled or destroyed, lives and families nearly ruined because of our “need” to celebrate the nation’s independence with something that explodes.

If you want to be “safe and sane” this year, do the smart thing: take yourself or your family to one of the many community events in and around our communities. Several of them will have professional fireworks displays far more enjoyable than anything an individual can create.

The Fourth is a wonderful holiday. Don’t ruin it by playing with fire.


– Craig Groshart, Reporter Newspapers