ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– As Colorado celebrates America this Fourth of July holiday, fire officials are staying busy ensuring all parties with fireworks stay safe.
“A lot more people are out purchasing fireworks and getting ready for the evening, so it’s a much busier day,” Scott Hare, Fire Protection Officer with Cunningham Fire Protection District, said.
Since early June, Hare has visited several fireworks stands in Arapahoe County twice a day. He stops by to make sure only legal products are for sale, no fireworks are sold to minors and all other fireworks rules are being followed.
“If they leave the ground or explode, they’re illegal,” Hare said as he browsed the shelves of fireworks at a tent near South Parker Road and Jewell Avenue.
Hare said he has found a few illegal fireworks since he started patrolling. Most stands receive new product shipments daily, but Hare said there have been no major busts or problems.
“If they are selling illegal fireworks we have the ability to shut them down,” Hare told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “We typically don’t do that. We work with the business owners and just try to make things safe.”
At the Black Cat Fireworks stand off South Parker Road, Sheree Samora is happy to show fire officials what items are for sale at her family’s business.
“If we do have something that they’ve decided was legal but is now illegal, we make sure to pull it from the shelf right away,” she said.
Samora’s fireworks tent will stay open through midnight and expects this July 4th to be a busy one.
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“Even at night we have a line wrapped around the tent,” she said. “We have a ton of people coming in.”
Legal or illegal, Hare knows people are excited to buy fireworks to celebrate the American holiday. He said authorities do not want to ruin the fun, but will patrol neighborhoods throughout the evening to make sure no one is using illegal fireworks or using them in an unsafe area.
“We just want everyone to be safe and to have a happy Fourth of July,” Hare said.
Violators of fireworks rules and bans – which varies by city and county – can face a fine or even jail time.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 This Morning over the weekend and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.