State Targets Online Sales Of Illegal Fireworks

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sergeant Mark Harri is part of the Sacramento Police Department’s bomb squad. He’s at Fire Station 19 across the street from Cal Expo, showing a group of reporters a bouquet of brightly colored - and very illegal - Bottle Rockets. 

“Here’s just a small potpourri of them here. Obviously the danger with these is you really can’t control the trajectory of them. So if you think you’re shooting them in one direction, they end up going in a different direction and lands on someone’s house and starts a fire.” 

These Bottle Rockets along with Cherry Bombs, Roman Candles and other illegal fireworks aren’t just being smuggled into California across state lines, people are also buying them online. Vickie Sakamoto is with the State Fire Marshal’s Office. 

“That is something that has picked up – people out there trying to sell it on the internet to families, kids, adults. And so that seems to add additional traffic that we haven’t had.” 

Sakamoto says they’ve been talking with Craigslist and other online marketplace sites to try and stop the practice. 

Meanwhile, prosecutors say they plan to throw the book at anyone who gets caught. Anne Marie Schubert is with the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. She says adults caught using illegal fireworks around kids could be facing child endangerment charges. 

“So we’re obviously going to consider those types of cases because you’re putting young kids at serious risk of harm when you’re using illegal fireworks.” 

State and local fire officials say if you’re going to buy fireworks, make sure they’re approved by the State Fire Marshal with the “Safe and Sane” logo on the box.