Federal Officials Issue Massive Fireworks Recall Just In Time for Fourth of July

Published on June 30, 2019

With the Fourth of July rapidly approaching, fireworks season is here. Just days before celebrations started across the country, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) held its annual fireworks safety demonstration on the National Mall in Washington, recalling almost 40,000 fireworks sold in three-states because they’re too powerful.

“Last year, there were five reports of fireworks-related deaths involving victims ranging from ages 19 to 49,” said CPSC acting Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle. “All of the deaths were associated with re-loadable aerial devices which can either be a commercial or professional firework.”

Each year, an average of 18,500 fires are caused by fireworks, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Such fires cause an average of three deaths, 40 injuries, and $43 million in direct property damage.

According to the safety commission’s 2018 Fireworks Annual Report, there were at least five deaths related to fireworks in connection with last year’s 9,100 emergency room visits. Of those 9,100 incidents, 6,200 were between the dates of June 22 and July 22, according to the CPSC.

In 2017, 53 percent of fireworks-related injuries were burns. The most common injuries were to the hands and fingers, comprising of 31 percent, followed by head, face, and ears at 22 percent.

On Saturday, the Long Beach Police Department in California seized approximately 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks from someone who was planning to sell and distribute them in the region.

“Know what ILLEGAL fireworks will get you? A ride to our City Jail,” the police department tweeted. They also shared a video of the truck full of the illegal and confiscated explosives.

Under the L.A. County Fire Code, Title 32, Section 5601.3, all forms of fireworks are illegal to distribute and sell, without a valid permit. The crime is a misdemeanor, but could be punishable by up to a year in prison or a $50,000 fine, if convicted.

Understanding the laws with respect to fireworks in your area could not only save your life, but keep you from the slammer. So here’s the legal.

Federal Hazardous Substances Act

The CPSC enforces its fireworks regulations under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act (FHSA), 15 U.S.C. $1261. Under the federal law, it is a violation to import, distribute, or sell fireworks that violate CPSC regulations.

For a quick summary on the CPSC’s fireworks regulations, please click here.

While fireworks are a time-honored tradition for celebrating American Independence Day, knowing the law behind lighting that fuse is extremely important. Each state has its own laws with respect to professional displays and independent activities.

For example, Michigan has been the subject of firework safety regulation, with the December 2018 amendment to Michigan’s Fireworks Safety Act of 2011.

The CPSC Recall

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has officially recalled products from:

  1. Grandma’s Fireworks –Indiana
  2. GS Fireworks –Michigan
  3. Patriot Pyrotechnics/Bill’s Fireworks –Michigan
  4. Keystone Fireworks –Pennsylvania

These recalled products according to the CPSC, are overloaded with pyrotechnics intended to produce a booming sound, resulting in a bigger than expected explosion.

#1: Grandma’s Fireworks

Of the four recalls, Grandma’s Fireworks in Indiana had the largest recall, with 25,000 pieces from 18 different products, ranging in price from $20 to $50 a pack.

The recall covers fireworks purchased from January 2009 to April 2019 in West College Corner, Indiana. Brands such as Rise in the East, Angry Elf, Mamba, Crazy King, POW!, Bang, Crazy Robot Flowers, Frog Balls, Dragon Artillery, Talon, and Block Buster are some of the fireworks listed on the list.

According to the Commission, two boys, eight and twelve, recently found the broken end of a Talon rocket, lit it, and were injured in the process. Unfortunately, the eight-year-old boy lost his hand during the explosion.

In initiating the recall, the Oxford, Ohio Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives investigated these fireworks and worked with CPSC.

#2: GS Fireworks

Like Grandma’s Fireworks, approximately 260 fireworks sold by GS Fireworks out in Michigan were also recalled, with the help of the Michigan State Fire Marshal’s office.

According to the full list of recalled products by the CPSC, 26 of the company’s products made the list, with distribution in Wyoming and Michigan back in March 2018 through May 2018.

The products ranged in price from $10 to $125.

For more information on this, call GS Fireworks at 616-304-8800, or email jewell.david@att.net.

#3: Patriot Pyrotechnics

Patriot Pyrotechnics/Bill’s Fireworks in Michigan sold approximately 11,000 fireworks, with approximately 22 of its products making it onto the recall list. These included products sold from January 2017 to July 2018, ranging from $100 to $125.

Fortunately, no injuries have been reported in connection with the products.

The CPSC has a full list of recalled products from the company.

#4: Keystone

Keystone Fireworks’ recall includes 1,660 G-Force Fireworks sold at an isolated Pennsylvania location between November 2018 and May 2019. Each box is priced at approximately $60.

The fireworks are banned and prohibited from being sold under the Federal Hazardous Substances Act.

The CPSC has a full list of the company’s recalled products.

#CelebrateSafely This Fourth of July

So, if you’re considering on purchasing your own, you need to consider where you live—not just the state, but the county or city. If you don’t, you could potentially face serious fines or even serve jail time.

For a full listing of the recalled products, please visit the CPSC website here.

Andrew "Drew" Rossow is a former contract editor at Grit Daily.

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