Ban on fireworks makes difference for fire department

Ban on fireworks makes difference for fire department

SPOKANE, Wash. - Fireworks have been banned in Spokane County for over 20 years. Some feel like they're missing out, but for the fire department, the ban has made the holiday weekend safer and easier.

For Kim Hynes and her two boys, this year will be a first-- they're going to Airway Heights to light off fireworks at a friend's house.

"Get to share a tradition that as kids we always got to do and have never been able to do with our own kids," Hynes said. "So it will be so much fun."

The trio was out browsing at TNT Fireworks off State Route 2 Thursday night.

"I love cones," Hynes said looking at the table of explosives.

Shes one of the many leaving Spokane to go to surrounding areas to enjoy fireworks the legal way. This year marks 22 years since Spokane banned fireworks.

"This weekend is extremely busy for us," Brian Schaeffer with the Spokane Fire Department said. "It's definitely a period of concern."

He said before the ban went into effect, they responded to an average of 104 firework-caused fires during the holiday week. Now they see about five.

"We've stayed pretty level with a low number of incidents and a very low number of injuries, which was the goal of the program," Schaeffer said.

The department will have extra units patrolling neighborhoods for firework use and ticketing those who disobey the law. The price? A minimum of $513.

"I like those smoke balls, but we're probably not going to be able to take those home," Seven-year-old Ayla said.

She knows all about the ban in Spokane. Her dad said that he got a ticket a couple years ago, so they now go to Idaho to light off fireworks.

"I went to Idaho before, but it's a really long drive," Ayla said.

Instead, she said she just might watch the show in Spokane.

"I really like the ones that, like they're like normal fireworks but they go like 'pewwwww' and stuff," Ayla said.

Fireworks are illegal in Spokane, Spokane Valley, Millwood, Cheney, Liberty Lake and the unincorporated areas of Spokane. They are legal in Airway Heights, Medical Lake and Deer Park as well as the Indian reservations. However, it has to be on private property.