Kent Police seize 240 pounds of fireworks during July emphasis patrols

Kent Police seized nearly 240 pounds of illegal fireworks this year after confiscating only about 25 pounds in previous years.

With emphasis patrols from July 1-5 to enforce the city’s new ban on all fireworks, the amount of confiscated items went way up. Police seized most of the fireworks on the Fourth of July. Officers had a total of 30 fireworks seizures.

The City Council voted 5-0 last year to approve the ban. The former city code allowed fireworks (bought at consumer stands) to be discharged from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4 and the sale of fireworks from June 28 to July 4. The council received numerous complaints over the last few years about fireworks in neighborhoods and submitted an advisory measure to residents who voted to approve a ban.

“The majority of calls and activity occur on the Fourth,” said Assistant Police Chief Derek Kammerzell in an email. “Before on the Fourth, only illegal fireworks (reservation types like rockets, M80s, firecrackers, etc.) could be confiscated.

“This year all fireworks, including previously legal consumer items bought at regular stands, were illegal and subject to confiscation. That, combined with diligent enforcement, created the increase.”

Police had just three fireworks seizures in 2016 that resulted in 20 pounds of items. In 2015, officer confiscated 25 pounds from 15 seizures.

Kammerzell compiled a report for the council on July 18 that compared the number of complaints, confiscations, citations, warnings and arrests from 2013 to 2017.

There were 389 complaints about fireworks this year to police, a big jump from the 199 complaints in 2013 but down from the 524 in 2015.

Kammerzell noted in his report a couple of incidents this year:

• A small explosive device caused some damage and a small fire to yard plants and decorative bark on July 5 at home in the Springbrook neighborhood on the East Hill

• An improvised “tennis ball bomb” was detonated inside a community mailbox near 112th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 238th Street on July 11, causing major structural damage to a mailbox

Firework Enforcement Stats

(Last five years)

2017

Firework complaints taken: 389

Fireworks seizures: 30

Warnings: 18

Citations: 3

Fires created by fireworks: 1

Pounds of fireworks confiscated: 240

2016

Firework complaints taken: 371

Fireworks seizure: 3

Warnings: 50

Infractions: 3

Citations: 3

Fires caused by fireworks: 5

Pounds of fireworks confiscated: 20

2015

Firework complaints taken: 524

Fireworks seizure: 15

Warnings: 9

Infractions: 38

Citations: 8

Arrests: 3

Pounds of fireworks confiscated: 25

2014

Firework complaints taken: 341

Fireworks seizure: 5

Citations: 2

Arrests: 2

Injuries sustained by fireworks: 3

Fires caused by fireworks: 16

Pounds of fireworks confiscated: 20

2013

Firework complaints taken: 199

Fireworks seizure: 71

Warnings: 131

Citations: 1

Arrests: 1

Fires created by fireworks: 2

(Note: Category not listed if number was zero.)

Source: Kent Police

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