West Seattle 4th of July: Early reminders on fireworks, crime prevention

(2012 photo: Illegal fireworks at Hamilton Viewpoint Park while spectators awaited view of legal Lake Union show)
With the 4th of July a week and a half away – plus an extra-long spell of warm, dry weather already well under way – the Southwest Precinct asked us to share a reminder that’s more important than ever:

The Seattle Police Department and Seattle Fire Department would like to remind the public that fireworks are illegal in the City of Seattle.

The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited. Fireworks offenses are gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Fireworks pose a fire hazard to property and present a safety risk to those who use them. Every year the Seattle Fire Department responds to fireworks-related fires and injuries. The holiday-related fires and injuries are preventable.

On the 4th of July, 911 centers become overloaded with non-emergency fireworks calls. DO NOT call 911 unless you have a life-threatening emergency and need immediate help from police, fire or medics. Unnecessary 911 calls block people with real emergencies from reaching 911 and getting help.

Any fireworks-related fires or injuries should be reported directly to 911. Other fireworks violations may be reported by calling the Seattle Police non-emergency number at 206-625-5011.

Via Community Police Team Officer Jon Flores, we also have SPD info-sheets to share on preventing/deterring crimes that are even more common in the warm season:

*Car prowls
*Making sure your windows are secure
*Making sure your doors are secure
*Burglary deterrence, outside your home
*Suspicious behavior and when to report it

P.S. More crime-prevention info is just a few hours away at tonight’s West Seattle Block Watch Captains’ Network meeting.

28 Replies to "West Seattle 4th of July: Early reminders on fireworks, crime prevention"

  • sam-c June 23, 2015 (4:26 pm)

    LOL a $ 5000 fine that no-one enforces. Kinda like the dogs on beaches fine, off leash dog fine, driving while talking on a cell phone ticket…

    • WSB June 23, 2015 (4:30 pm)

      People really do get ticketed for everything you mention. Most of the time, they won’t get caught, but they’re gambling.

  • sc June 23, 2015 (4:38 pm)

    Get out the earplugs and make sure the water hose is attached and ready to use!

  • RT June 23, 2015 (4:48 pm)

    North Admiral was a war zone last year until 3:00 a.m. Would be nice to see some enforcement of the code…..not hard to predict (or to see) where the action is..

  • norskgirl June 23, 2015 (5:41 pm)

    My area in the Genesee neighborhood is incredible (I say that as a negative). Lots of bottle rockets which end up on house and car roofs, and the dry, fire-prone grass. Lots of ?? that produce a concussion that rattles windows up and down the block. Ear piercing Whistling Petes.
    The poor pets suffering through this cacophony. Too bad the ones so entertained by this don’t have consideration/respect that it is illegal and potentially harmful to yards, houses and pets. Too bad they don’t just pack it up and join the sensible, law-abiding folks/families having fun viewing one of the legal (and quite grand) fireworks shows.
    PS: The police have been called several years by different people in my area to no avail. They have always been a no-show.

  • Azimuth June 23, 2015 (6:26 pm)

    Fireworks on the 4th don’t generally bother me, just the days before and after that get annoying.

  • Noelle June 23, 2015 (6:35 pm)

    West Seattle, especially the Alki and Admiral areas become an “illegal” Fireworks BONANZA every year on the 4th of July. Its insane.

  • West Seattle Hipster June 23, 2015 (7:48 pm)

    I understand SPD has it’s hands full and can’t catch every one lighting off fireworks, but why are the Indian tribes allowed to sell explosives?


    Especially to people who clearly lack the intelligence to handle them.

  • Mike June 23, 2015 (8:13 pm)

    For those wishing to celebrate with your own fireworks, please remember those who risked everything serving our country.

  • Chris Bast June 23, 2015 (8:42 pm)

    Any word from SPD about if they’ll have patrols out actually enforcing this? I don’t understand why this is so hard to stop.

    • WSB June 23, 2015 (8:51 pm)

      SPD is out in force on 4th of July but the priorities as always are life safety. I’ve listened to the scanner for more than a few 4th of Julys now and they do call out the fireworks reports but the officers are generally busy with beach craziness, drunken fights, etc. The fireworks are seemingly on every street. And it’s not just because of tribal sales as mentioned by WSHipster above … the proximity of the unincorporated area (White Center and vicinity), where fireworks remain legal (the so-called “safe and sane” types, sparklers, smoke bombs, etc.) and readily available, is certainly a West Seattle factor. Some years maybe a sparkler in your back yard isn’t the end of the world but this year with no rain … recipe for more trouble than usual.

  • ChefJoe June 23, 2015 (9:01 pm)

    I just wish they’d not pretend that the fireworks ban is effective and instead designate a few large lot “amnesty zones” where fireworks can be set off with some oversight/watered lawns, then crack down hard on all the fireworks outside those zones. Telling people to call a non-emergency number that’s got less capacity to handle calls than 911 is getting awful close to telling people “if you see random parachutes drop into the water, it’s probably graduation balloons”.

    FWIW “Remember, if it has a stick or fins and it goes up or if it blows up, it is illegal in Washington State. ”

  • Pete June 23, 2015 (9:21 pm)

    Diet is bad enough that we have to suffer through this but I think the least they could do is clean up the mess they create. Go look at the open fields next to schools the next morning and take a gaze at all of the trash from the night before.

  • Greystreet June 24, 2015 (5:15 am)

    I am not looking forward to this day at all, I echo the concerns regarding how dry it has been and the unfortunate frequency of fires it seems in West Seattle. My dogs are terrified of all of this and it seems like the Police are just trying to herd cats when it comes to firework enforcement with White Center being so close and the blythe disregard for the rest of the illegal fireworks that are put off. Last year Arbor Heights looked like Francis Scott Key could have written a new version of the National Anthem in my driveway :(

  • Maggie June 24, 2015 (5:40 am)

    I have a camping reservation at Mount Rainier for the 4th. Looking forward to sleeping in peace.

  • Mike June 24, 2015 (5:47 am)

    Pete, you’re talking about people risking thousands of dollars in penalties. They don’t care about anyone or any place. It’s all about themselves.

  • Rick June 24, 2015 (5:54 am)

    I want to live in a place that everyone else wants to live in. There’s my problem.

  • Matt S. June 24, 2015 (8:05 am)

    +1 Rick.

  • sam-c June 24, 2015 (8:55 am)

    +1 Maggie. My dog and son hate the fireworks (mostly the ones that just go on and on and on til 2 AM), and we have reservations to sleep elsewhere for a couple nights. Hey for those of you still staying in WS, please call 911 on any firework-ignited fires you see! thanks!

  • Neighbor June 24, 2015 (10:03 am)

    We could sure use some enforcement off the Admiral lookout. The last couple years it’s been unbelievable. I actually had an officer tell me if I didn’t leave the area after requesting help in the neighborhood to the north he would arrest me. Wtf? Seriously why are we paying for their salaries if that is the response we get?

    The hillside is getting drier and drier. I can’t for the life of me imagine that the fire department could manage to put out a fire over the hill before serious property damage.

  • Nick June 24, 2015 (10:39 am)

    I have no problem with people lighting off fireworks 2 days a year.

  • Born on Alki 59 June 24, 2015 (12:02 pm)

    So the tribes can sell illegal fireworks under an obscure 1961 law…. It is illegal to purchase and then transport any “illegal” type fireworks off the reservation. The tribes knowingly do so on a regular basis but no one enforces existing laws. Seems pointless for local cops to enforce fireworks laws that are not being enforced at the point of sale.

    Too bad we can’t prosecute those sellers responsible for the $$$ millions of damage done each year. A good steward of the earth would not put children and the environment in harms way. Just my .02

  • Karen June 24, 2015 (2:16 pm)

    And for God’s sake, please do not bring your fireworks across Roxbury to our unincorporated King County neighborhood. We do not enjoy “hosting” your fireworks parties in front of our house, especially when you leave your garbage all over the street for us to clean up the next day!

  • Perusa June 24, 2015 (10:23 pm)

    Sooo…we are going into our 3rd year at our home which is steps from the fire department station 37 on the corner of SW Holden & 35th. I have to say…it really doesn’t seem like they enforce the fireworks laws. People set off fireworks 2 houses from the fire department all night on the 4th…nothing has been done 3 yrs in a row.

  • anonyme June 25, 2015 (8:20 am)

    I know lots of people who live in other large cities who don’t have this problem. Some of them don’t even have fireworks bans, and the most they report is a few firecrackers and sparklers. Seattleites suffer from a serious sense of entitlement, fueled by a weak City Council and a do-nothing police force. The non-emergency phone number is also NON FUNCTIONING – and SPD is well aware that this is the case, effectively making it impossible to report fireworks violations.

    What is truly remarkable is that in this day and age of environmental lip service, no one points out the environmental damage and dangers posed by fireworks. They contain toxic heavy metals that blanket the soil and pollute both air and water. There is no way to avoid it; the Mayor may as well send up crop dusters loaded with DDT to spray all of Seattle. The air is unbreathable for days after the Fourth. Virtually all fireworks are made in China (how patriotic!) which doesn’t exactly have a record of good environmental compliance.

  • LarryB June 25, 2015 (11:54 am)

    I just moved from Ballard, where things weren’t too bad on the 4th. I’m disappointed to hear that West Seattle becomes a war zone.

    FWIW, I grew up in Brooklyn in the ’70s and ’80s. The fireworks were so bad that there were literally inches of paper in the streets. These days the fireworks have been nearly eliminated. If NYC can do it, why can’t Seattle?

  • Dave June 25, 2015 (2:43 pm)

    It’s a war zone in West Seattle. Highland Park was especially bad the last 3+ years. The worst of it includes the continuing and random M-80s (or whatever they are called now) at any time day or night, but usually early morning. And, since most of us don’t have A/C, our windows are open, increasing the noise, which is startling. It brings down the quality of life in West Seattle and encourages more illegal and disrespectful behavior.

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