Fireworks stands open for business as firefighters warn of dangers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Stands in Fresno and Clovis were allowed to open for business at noon on Sunday. In drought conditions, setting off fireworks can be dangerous. But that's not the only liability that comes with buying and selling fireworks.

It's opening day for fireworks sales and there's no shortage of stands in the Central Valley. They're selling safe and sane fireworks, the only kind of pyrotechnics allowed in California.

"Illegal fireworks leave the ground or explode. And those are the things that typically cause us the most danger," said Chief Kerri Donis, Fresno Fire Department.

Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis warned at a press conference that small sparks can start raging fires if people aren't careful. They demonstrated how quickly a building can catch fire from a roman candle. And those who use illegal fireworks, firefighters say, may put others in jeopardy.

"Our enforcement is really going to be targeted at the property owner of the location where the illegal fireworks are," said John Binaski, Clovis Fire Department Chief.

A different kind of risk also has fireworks sellers on high alert. Pastor Stephen Hill of Kerman says his church's fireworks stand was hit by thieves last year and they were never arrested. They've moved to a CVS parking lot this year and are taking extra security measures.

"So we're high visibility... lights and of course there are businesses established there all have security cameras so we feel like we're in a much better position," said Pastor Stephen Hill, Kerman Mayor.

A stand in Fowler was already hit by thieves this weekend and lost $36-thousand in merchandise. The church group was trying to raise money for repairs on their aging building.

Anyone caught using illegal fireworks faces a $1,000 fine, and in certain jurisdictions, even more. null
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