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Sunnyside will have zero tolerance for fireworks this year

City of Sunnyside law enforcement and fire department personnel will have a strict zero tolerance when dealing with violators caught discharging fireworks in the city limits.

Sunnyside Battalion Chief Aaron Markham said both the fire and police departments will be cracking down this Fourth of July holiday on anyone caught discharging fireworks.

Sunnyside has specific ordinances dealing with fireworks. It is illegal for anyone in the city to possess, store, offer or expose for sale, use, or discharge any sort of fireworks. Fireworks are defined by city ordinance as a combustible or explosive composition, or any substance, combination of substances, or device prepared for the purpose of producing a visible or audible effect by combustion, explosion, deflagration or detonation. Fireworks are defined to include toy pistols, toy cannons or toy guns where explosives are used. Also falling under the scope of fireworks are firecrackers, torpedoes, sky-rockets, Roman candles, sparklers or other similar devices.

Any violation of the city's fireworks ordinance is considered a misdemeanor offense. Offenders can be subject to a fine of $5,000 or one year in prison or be sentenced to both.

Washington State Fire Marshal Lowell Porter is encouraging residents to celebrate safely this Fourth of July holiday. The state fire chief said that in 2003, there were more than 1,300 fireworks-related emergency incidents. There were also 10 large fire incidents stemming from use of legal and illegal fireworks. Ill advised firework use last year in Washington state resulted in a homicide, a person being impaled with an object and another five people having to have one of their limbs amputated.

In 2003, there were also 14 firework-related fires caused on school grounds around the state, resulting in $62,500 worth of damage to school property.

Porter encourages Washington residents to attend one of the more than 100 public fireworks displays that will be going on throughout Washington on the Fourth of July.

For more information on fireworks visiting www.wsp.wa.gov/fireworks/ or call 1-888-29July4.

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