Officials try to douse fireworks sales expansion

Posted at 7:57 PM, Apr 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-05 22:57:52-04

Local fire officials are opposing a proposal to expand legal fireworks sales in Arizona, saying it would take away their ability to make safety rules for fireworks retailers.

House Bill 2398 would allow more powerful firecrackers and airborne fireworks to be sold. Proponents say people already use these kinds of fireworks in their backyard displays, but they buy them out of state. 

“Allowing these kinds of fireworks to be sold along sparklers, fountains, and ground spinners will increase our state and local revenues with sales tax,” the sponsor of the bill, State Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, said. He said fire marshals should still be able to oversee safety.

Some local fire officials disagree. They say they would no longer be able to make certain restrictions on how the fireworks are stored in retail stores and size or location of displays. They say that could lead to fire hazards and endanger employees and shoppers.

Scottsdale Fire Division Chief Kerry Swick said, “If you get too large of an amount, then they get run into. They are in a back room no one knows where they are. That's where sparks or something could occur.”