South County Fire wants fireworks ban in unincorporated Snohomish County

EVERETT, Wash. -- Soon you’ll start seeing fireworks booths popping up across the area, but there’s a new push to get a fireworks ban in unincorporated Snohomish County.

Since 2005, South County fire officials say they’ve tallied $3.7 million in fireworks-related property damage.

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Customer looks over fireworks with owner of The Black Magic Fireworks Booth Jenn Bontempo at Boom City on the Tulalip Reservation.

It’s another year at Boom City for Jen Bontempo’s Black Magic Fireworks Booth.

“It is kind of a staple for Americans on the Fourth of July to do fireworks,” said Black Magic Fireworks Jen Bontempo.

While area fireworks booths can’t open up for another week or so, Boom City is already open at the Tulalip Reservation and getting wind of a potential ban in unincorporated Snohomish County.

“There are a lot of safety precautions on fireworks, and knowing what you’re doing.  Don’t let kids play with it. Make sure someone just knows how to light them,” said Bontempo.

But South County Fire’s Leslie Hynes says it’s not enough. That’s why fire officials with South County Fire want to ban fireworks in the unincorporated parts of their coverage area.

“Brush fires, house fires, we also see a lot of injuries,” said South County Fire Public Information Officer Leslie Hynes.

Hynes points to dozens of fireworks horror stories highlighted in the petition they sent to the county council.

“It’s more densely populated. The aerial fireworks you really cannot control where they go or where they’re going to land. They could land on your neighbor’s roof and start a fire; we’ve seen that happen,” said Hynes.

A homeowner in unincorporated Snohomish County recalls the damage done to a neighbor’s home after a firework landed on the roof.

“He almost died in that fire. He grabbed his wife, went into the garage and crashed through the garage door to get out,” said one neighbor.

Despite the dangers, some organizations sale fireworks for church fundraisers or for charities.  Hynes says they’re already hearing backlash.

“I know that on social media there’s been some push back,” said Hynes.

Back at Boom City, Jenn says they’ve lost some customers but always manage to see new faces despite more bans in place.

“There are a lot of things out there that we’re allowed to do that people don’t agree with, but fireworks are fun its American and should be part of your fireworks Fourth of July,” said Bontempo.

South County fire officials will present the ban to the county council at its June 26th meeting.  But if approved, the ban won’t likely happen until July 2021 because county ordinance says all bans have at least a one year period before they go into effect.

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