Local county has no tolerance for illegal fireworks

NORTH POTOMAC, Md., (WUSA9) -- Everyone anticipates the pomp and pageantry of a spectacular fireworks display at the end of the Fourth of July.

But, if you live in Montgomery County and plan to set up and show off some pyrotechnics in your own backyard, count on a knock at the your door from bomb squad investigators.

"People look at them as fun, but they're very dangerous. It is an explosive device, and by law, it is considered an explosive," says Captain Michael Redding with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

Fireworks that malfunction and ones that aren't used or disposed of properly can cause serious property damage and injuries to you, even death.

Redding says, "Mayor injuries the hands, they can lose fingers, lose tendons in their hands, maybe even functions in their hand."

CPSC Reports Increase in Fireworks Related Injuries and Deaths in 2013

"All of this for a supposed fun item," says Anchor and consumer correspondent Lesli Foster.

"Yes," the captain says.

At an undisclosed location, members of the fire explosives team process all of the illegal fireworks taken from individuals and businesses.

"All of this was confiscated during a traffic stop," says Master Firefighter Don Boyd.

The fireworks were purchased legally in another state. But because it's illegal to have them in Montgomery County, you can't even transport them through the county. The $150 bust could actually end up costing the people who bought them much more.

"Well, we can give you a find up to $500 for possession of fireworks. We can even break it down to the individual fireworks itself," says Michael Redding.

There's one exception to the rule. You may have seen displays that may have advertised fireworks at local stores. But, it turns out, they aren't actually fireworks at all. They are poppers. And, they are totally legal in Montgomery County.

Master Firefighter Don Boyd went to a local store to investigate a tip about fireworks for sale. He says, "Well, they had a very colorful display advertising fireworks inside the store. So, we purchased this. Everything here is legal."

Boyd says you can still have a problem with the legal ones.

"Two of the Magnum poppers we have here, one malfunctioned, and one went off in our hands," says Boyd.

But the fireworks that concern these first responders the most are the ones that don't come from a stand or a store.

"Some of these are homemade that we confiscated. They're even more dangerous. Remember with fireworks there is no real industry standard," says Michael Redding.

So, the best advice during this time of year that we all celebrate our nation's Independence is to sit back, and let someone else put on the light show.

"Don't use fireworks in the county, leave it to the professionals. It's much more safe than doing it yourself," Captain Michael Redding says.

Fireworks: What's Legal in Your County

Fireworks are also illegal in Prince George's County and the city of Baltimore. Certain types of fireworks are allowed in the District of Columbia and some jurisdictions in Virginia.


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