Safety city’s fireworks priority

By Jared Tucker: PNT staff writer

Safety is the priority this year, as fireworks vendors are set to sell the colorful explosives to area residents.

Portales Fire Marshal Mike Inge said all fireworks stands have passed inspection.

Some of the things Inge looks for during his inspections are:

• Minimum age of the seller and buyer of fireworks — 16 years old

• Safety tips on the side of fireworks bags

• Customers cannot light fireworks within 150 feet of the fireworks stand

• “No Smoking” signs must be visible

• A fire extinguisher in proper working order, and vendors must know how to properly use it

• No bottle rockets, no stick rockets are to be sold within the county

Inge said several residents have called the fire department asking about which fireworks are legal, and which ones are not.

“Legal fireworks are what you can buy in the city and county,” said Inge, noting that police agencies will be enforcing illegal fireworks violations by issuing citations.

Kelly Fulfer manages two fireworks stands, one in the C&S parking lot, and one in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Fulfer said residents can get more entertainment from their Independence Day festivities if they get together with neighbors, friends and family.

“If a neighborhood gets together, and everyone pitches in, say, $60 for a big fireworks package, and $20 for some hot dogs, hamburgers and such, not only are you going to have a great time socializing with friends and family, but you are going to pay about a third less for fireworks than if you bought them individually,” Fulfer said.

Fulfer said a good way to protect people watching and lighting fireworks is to set up a square barricade around the lighting zone using tables laid on their side.

“That way, if the firework falls over, it will either shoot into that safety zone, or ricochet at a safe angle above your head,” Fulfer said.