Office of the State Fire Marshal
State Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy
Captain Jason Berry
Government and Media Relations
(360) 596-4010 – office
(360) 596-4015 – fax
*** For Immediate Release***
June 29, 2011
Contact: Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Dan Johnson
Phone: (360) 596-3913
Fires Caused by the Improper Use of Fireworks
Olympia -- Washington State Fire Marshal Charles M. Duffy wants to remind people that in 2010 there were 414 fires caused by fireworks over the Independence Day holiday totaling a loss of over $1.4 million.
Persons using fireworks must remember that there are legal consequences for damages caused by the irresponsible use of fireworks. 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. 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, M-100’s and larger, altered fireworks, and public display mortars, is a federal offence.
Summer weather conditions make grasses and other vegetation dry and susceptible to fire. A person found responsible for a wildland fire started by a fireworks device can be required to pay restitution for the fire suppression costs. Fire suppression costs of a wildland fire can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Residents should talk with family members and guests about the fireworks laws in 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. Personal fireworks require personal responsibility. Remember the three B’s of fireworks safety:
- Be Prepared – Have water nearby and put pets indoors,
- Be Safe – Only adults should light fireworks, and
- Be Responsible – Clean up fireworks debris.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal is a Bureau of the Washington State Patrol, providing fire and life safety services to the citizens of Washington State including inspections of state licensed facilities, plan review of school construction projects, licensing of fire sprinkler contractors and pyrotechnic operators, training Washington State’s firefighters, and collecting emergency response data.