DENVER (KDVR) — Several Denver agencies and victims of illegal fireworks came together Thursday to encourage safe celebrations for the Fourth of July.
Two women who were injured by illegal fireworks while attending a 2019 festival in Denver shared their story as well.
“I had two surgeries, a skin graft and pain that wouldn’t stop for months,” Brittnee Coyne said alongside Tierney Danio, both of whom were hit by a mortar-style firework someone set off as they awaited a professional fireworks display.
Fireworks are illegal in Colorado except those that are considered “permissible” under state law. Those are defined as non-explosive and are not intended to leave the ground.
“Don’t risk the health and safety of your friends, your family and your neighbors,” Denver Fire Department spokesperson Greg Pixley said.
Cities and counties can also set further restrictions on the types of fireworks allowed within their boundaries, and may ban the use entirely.
Denver does not allow fireworks. Littleton and Lakewood both have a zero-tolerance policy for fireworks, including sparklers. But other cities in the metro like Aurora and Westminster allow certain types of fireworks during certain timeframes around the Fourth of July holiday.
“It is complicated. Colorado has a very patchwork set of laws and regulations around fireworks, so I think it’s really important for everyone to know the rules and restrictions in their own area,” said West Metro Fire Assistant Chief, Michael Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick said that after a busy season last year, he’s concerned about the coming weeks leading up to the holiday.
West Metro Fire responded to four fireworks-related incidents in 2019 and 15 in 2020. In 2020, eight of the incidents fell within a week of Fourth of July.
“In many cases, people are using them (fireworks) unsupervised with children, or they’re being used in an unsafe manner or when the fire danger is high. That certainly is something I’m worried about this month,” Kirkpatrick said.
Kirkpatrick encourages people to check with both their city and county to learn more about fireworks restrictions.
Illegal Fireworks FAQ
- In Denver, there are two ways to report the use or sale of illegal fireworks:
- Online at Denvergov.org/pocketgov – select “Report Fireworks”
- Call 720-913-2059 (dedicated line for reporting illegal fireworks)
- The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited in the City and County of Denver
- Penalties for violations include up to $999 in fines and/or court costs and up to one year in jail
You can watch the full press conference in the FOX31 NOW player below.