Lots of bangs for their bucks

SUNDAY, JULY 3, 2005

Aubra Pollack wasn’t excited about her Saturday afternoon fireworks shopping trip with her daughter.

Pollack said she’s concerned about the injuries and fires that pyrotechnics can cause. Still, she said it’s better for her two children to use fireworks safely than for her to ban them.

“I realize unfortunately that 13- and 14-year-olds are kind of pyromaniacs, and they like to experiment in that stuff,” Pollack said. “I’d rather have them do it under some kind of supervision.”

With the Fourth of July on Monday, fireworks stands like TNT Fireworks in Airway Heights had a steady flow of customers. But fire agencies warn that all fireworks are illegal throughout Spokane County except in Airway Heights, Deer Park and Medical Lake where “safe and sane” fireworks are allowed. Those include sparklers, Roman candles and fountains.

“Even though they may be called ‘safe and sane,’ a lot of it has to do with the person using them and their level of care,” said Spokane Fire Battalion Chief Steve Sabo.

Bottle rockets, firecrackers and other fireworks considered more dangerous are banned throughout the state, including the three Spokane County cities where “safe and sane” fireworks are OK.

In Airway Heights, displays are allowed only from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday. Fire Marshal Tom Ledgerwood said Airway Heights’ biggest problem with fireworks comes from outsiders, who think city law allows them to ignite bottle rockets and other illegal pyrotechnics.

Problems the city has had in the past with fireworks mostly had to do with illegal ones, Ledgerwood said.

“We were having five or six EMS calls a night,” Ledgerwood said. “But when we started actively enforcing it, it dropped off to maybe one, if that.”

Heather Phillips, who was working at the TNT Fireworks stand Saturday, said the average customer spends about $50 for a display.

Prices for individual fireworks ranged from 49 cents for a small box of “Pop Its” to $79.99 for “Pride of America,” which “shoots 50 flaming balls” from a patriotic package.

Kelli MacArthur was at TNT with her husband Saturday checking out the selection in Airway Heights before heading to the Spokane Indian Reservation – where they planned to buy bigger fireworks.

MacArthur said she misses the days when fireworks in Spokane were legal.

“Your whole neighborhood was a show of its own,” MacArthur said.


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