SC Fireworks Law Change Improving Safety, Stand Owners Say - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

SC Fireworks Law Change Improving Safety, Stand Owners Say

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBIA -

A change in South Carolina's fireworks law has improved the safety of temporary fireworks stands, owners say, and worries that inspectors would not be able to cover the entire state have not materialized.

Under the previous law, temporary fireworks stands were inspected by local fire departments or sheriff's deputies.  "Things were real inconsistent, with different municipalities doing the inspections," says Luke Walker, who owns two fireworks stands and has been in the business for 16 years. "Different inspectors, with different rules; some want different things done."

But under the law that took effect in 2010, the State Fire Marshal is now responsible for all fireworks inspections. While some owners were concerned that the Fire Marshal's office wouldn't have enough people to do all the inspections in time, State Fire Marshal Shane Ray says, "Our deputy state fire marshals have inspected all consumer fireworks stands throughout the state. That's over 700 of those, and I wasn't aware of any problems we had during that process."

Walker says, "With the Fire Marshal doing it now it's much more consistent and easy to get done."

Fireworks stand operator Rick Boothe says, "It's actually improved the quality of our stands, I think, because I didn't know a lot of the fire laws. With the fire marshals, they educate you. They show you, you know, what to look for now."

The 2010 law also raised the legal age for buying fireworks to 16. It had been legal for 14-year-olds to buy them before the change. Marti Bluestein, who was buying fireworks on the 4th with her 14- and 10- year-old daughters, says, "I love my 14-year-old, but I'm also a mom, so I think the increase to 16 is just fine with me."

The law also made it illegal to set off fireworks within 300 feet of a fireworks stand, and the stands are required to have signs letting customers know that. The State Fire Marshal says he doesn't know what the penalty is for violating that because he doesn't know of a case getting to the point of legal action.

"We don't have many complaints," he says. "We have had some, with fireworks being discharged within 300 feet of the stand, and we were able to send a deputy there and explain the law to them, which they complied with."

Stand operator Boothe says, "People are usually pretty cooperative. They say, 'I don't want to blow up.'"

While the Fire Marshal hasn't had any trouble doing the inspections of the temporary fireworks stands, he says he does not have enough people to inspect all of the public fireworks shows. He has 16 deputy fire marshals spread across the state, but there are 51 public fireworks shows in 21 counties on July 4th.

Ray says they'll make random inspections, and the professionals who set off the public fireworks have to get permits and have liability insurance.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • WEATHER: Waterspout Spotted Off the Coast of Tybee Island

    WEATHER: Waterspout Spotted Off the Coast of Tybee Island

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:51:17 GMT
    The National Weather Service confirms that a water spout was spotted off the coast of Tybee Island on Friday morning. The Chatham Count Emergency Management agency says the island did activate its outdoor warning system and cleared the beach.At this time, weather reports do not indicated the waterspout will make landfall, but it is recommended to avoid the beach until the storm has passed.
    The National Weather Service confirms that a water spout was spotted off the coast of Tybee Island on Friday morning. The Chatham Count Emergency Management agency says the island did activate its outdoor warning system and cleared the beach.At this time, weather reports do not indicated the waterspout will make landfall, but it is recommended to avoid the beach until the storm has passed.
  • Screams, panic caught on video as shark charges at swimmers near beach

    Screams, panic caught on video as shark charges at swimmers near beach

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-07-30 21:48:04 GMT
    Facebook image from Dan FlynnFacebook image from Dan Flynn
    A Florida beach cleared out – with the exception of a woman and lifeguard who tried to save her – when a shark was spotted heading straight toward swimmers on Tuesday afternoon. The panic of the 10-foot shark and people screaming from the pier was caught on tape.
    A Florida beach cleared out – with the exception of a woman and lifeguard who tried to save her – when a shark was spotted heading straight toward swimmers on Tuesday afternoon. The panic of the 10-foot shark and people screaming from the pier was caught on tape.
  • Bikini-clad mom of 5 writes viral letter to bullies who mocked her stretch marks

    Bikini-clad mom of 5 writes viral letter to bullies who mocked her stretch marks

    Friday, August 1 2014 4:17 PM EDT2014-08-01 20:17:45 GMT
    Tanis Jex-Blake Facebook page photoTanis Jex-Blake Facebook page photo
    A mother of five who was mocked for her stretch marks while sunbathing at the beach has written an open letter to the trio who bullied her. That letter has now gone viral with more than a million likes and 218,000 shares.
    A mother of five who was mocked for her stretch marks while sunbathing at the beach has written an open letter to the trio who bullied her. That letter has now gone viral with more than a million likes and 218,000 shares.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.