After a destructive Fourth of July, Fire District 1 wants ban

  • By Chris Fyall For the Enterprise
  • Tuesday, July 28, 2009 8:33pm

After a historically destructive Fourth of July, one county fire department is calling for a fireworks ban.

By unanimous vote, the commissioners of Snohomish County Fire District 1 asked the county this week to ban fireworks in all parts of unincorporated Snohomish County.

“As it stands now, we have citizens who tell us they won’t leave their homes on July 4 out of fear that an errant firework will destroy their property,” said Jim Kenny, the district’s board chair.

“A ban will restore their sense of security, reduce injuries and cut property losses,” he said.

Fireworks sparked blazes that destroyed more than $4 million of property across Snohomish County during the Fourth of July holiday. Homes from Monroe to Marysville were destroyed.

Three homes in Fire District 1 burned, causing $1.25 million in damages.

The district has never seen a more destructive Fourth of July, said Leslie Hynes, the district’s spokeswoman.

Damage from fireworks varies from year to year, said Mike Makela, the county’s deputy fire marshal.

Last year, just one vehicle fire was blamed on fireworks. Two years ago, fireworks started nine different fires, he said.

Data is still being collected for this year’s holiday, Makela said.

“The conditions were there (this year) so that fires with fireworks could easily happen,” he said. “It was on a weekend, we’d had hot, dry weather leading up to the Fourth, and people bought fireworks.”

Bans are already in place in many cities. Everett, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Gold Bar and Woodway have approved bans, according to the fire marshal’s office.

It is already illegal to own or discharge firecrackers, bottle rockets and skyrockets in Snohomish County.

Those devices account for 90 percent of all fireworks-related fires in Washington state, according to the fire marshal’s office.

Not all fireworks damage comes from fires, though — people also hurt themselves.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 33 percent of people injured are children under 15 years of age. People under 20 years old sustain 47 percent of all fireworks-related injuries, according to the CDC.

Chris Fyall writes for the Herald of Everett.