HFD and HCFMO Combine Efforts to Seize More Than 75 Cases of Fireworks
Late yesterday, June 28, 2011, the Harris County Marshal’s Office (HCFMO) received notice of an internet sales offer through a popular sales site from a concerned citizen. The HCFMO immediately initiated an investigation into the complaint. Fire Marshal’s made contact with an individual through the listed phone number and confirmed that fireworks were being offered for sale.
Through the detective work by the HCFMO, it was discovered that the fireworks were in the jurisdiction of the City of Houston. Coordination began immediately to have a joint effort of the HCFMO and the Houston Fire Department to handle the complaint.
Nine members of the HFD Fire Marshal Office, including inspectors and investigators and several Fire Marshals from the HCFMO responded to the location in southwest Houston at a designated time and found in excess of 75 cases of consumer 1.4 fireworks available for sale. Fireworks were being stored within the city limits of Houston. The individual selling the fireworks has been identified and additional circumstances around the case are still under investigation.
It has been illegal to discharge fireworks or to have fireworks in your possession in the City of Houston for more than 4 decades. Fireworks fines within the City are set and assessed by Municipal Court and range for $250.00 to 2500.00 for each violation.
Citizens should also be aware that Harris County Judge Ed Emmett signed an order June 23, 2011, declaring a drought disaster and banning the sale or use of any fireworks anywhere in unincorporated Harris County. The order remains in effect until rescinded by Emmett. Violators of the fireworks ban in Harris County face a $1,000 fine or 180 days in jail. The only exception to the ban is for a public display “conducted by a person holding a valid pyrotechnic operator’s license or a valid pyrotechnics special effects operator’s license.”
Although there is a county-wide ban, the Houston Fire Department will have extra personnel throughout the city watching for violators.