City Of Fort Lauderdale Shuts Down Roadside Fireworks Stand, Seizes Inventory Worth $100K

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – We all drive by roadside fireworks stands around the 4th of July as they sell fireworks in advance of the holiday.

On Friday, Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue seized a large amount of fireworks from one of those roadside stands after determining that the fireworks sold at the stand on Sunrise Boulevard near U.S. 1 weren’t permitted for sale at a seasonal stand.

The city’s Fire Marshal, Jeff Lucas, says after a lengthy back and forth with the owner of the stand, police confiscated his inventory.

“It was probably over $100,000 worth of merchandise,” Lucas said.

Lucas says it’s not illegal for the man to possess the fireworks, which had names such as Firearm, Gunsmoke and Hard Core Pyro, but he can’t sell them in Fort Lauderdale, in Broward or in the state.

“The fireworks they were selling are things that go up, blow up and contain a lot of gunpowder in them,” Lucas explained. “They can blow your arm, blow your hand off, shoot you in the eye, go through your body. They’re very dangerous things.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2015 nearly 12,000 people were treated at emergency rooms in the U.S. for fireworks related injuries, many to the extremities and to the head. Statistics like this one show how dangerous fireworks can be.

Lucas met us a roadside business along Commercial Boulevard near U.S. 1 where he says they follow the law. At this stand, they sell what they state calls sparklers – items that are on a state-approved list for sale.

“It’s a canister that shoots up pretty sparks,” Lucas said, picking up one of their items for sale.

Michael Seeman shopped for sparklers here with his sons. He said he follows several safety rules – he lights all the fireworks himself and the kids wear goggles and stay a safe distance away.

“We want to have fun with it and see them enjoy it but obviously, they’re body parts are more important than seeing the fireworks go off,” Seeman said.

Lucas tells people to leave the fireworks to the professionals and urges people to visit a professional show in their city. But he says if you do want to light something in your backyard, do your best to make sure it’s safe.

“A lot of these fireworks are made out of the country, there’s no real reliability to them,” he said. “They can blow their hand off. They can blow their fingers off. They can shoot themselves in the eye. They can hurt somebody else. It’s not a good idea.”

Fire Rescue says the guy who ran the operation that was shut down, Justin Driggers, was charged with a misdemeanor for refusing to obey a lawful order.

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