Pulling back the curtain on C.O. fireworks stands

A look at the rules they have to follow

Rules and regulations of firework stands

BEND, Ore - The Fourth of July is only six days away, and fireworks sales are quickly ramping up. But do you know what goes into setting up a stand, how much money it makes or any of the rules and regulations? 

The rule book is lengthy, when it comes to fireworks in Central Oregon. From storage to signage, the stands must be careful to avoid getting in trouble with the fire marshal.

The rules include making sure to clearly label the exits, having several "no smoking" signs posted, a flame-retardant tent, no boxes under the tables -- and no sales to anyone under 18.  

Jake Dennis, a volunteer at the Discount Firework Store on Third Street, said among other rules, you have to be a certain distance away from the street, cars have to park a certain distance from the tent and you have to make sure there are three exits from the tent. 

Which is understandable, considering the tent is filled with easily ignited products.

From signage to storage, these pop-up businesses must be vigilant to avoid trouble from the fire marshal, explained Bend Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki.

"We'll typically check them right when they open, and then we'll check them either if we get a complaint or a concern or if we need to go in and do a period inspection," Derlacki said Wednesday.  

"And most of the companies want to do the right thing, because they have to get the permit every year, so if they have issues from one year to the next, they can lose their ability to get a permit," he added.

Also, in Oregon, fireworks are not allowed to say "shoot" on the packaging. Instead, they must say "emit."'

But aside from rules and regulations, there's also security to think about.  Most tents have one or more people sleeping at the site for the duration of sales, to make sure items don't get stolen. 

Doug Moore is the youth leader at the Faith Christian Center on Greenwood Avenue. He runs the fireworks stand.

"We bought another roll of chicken wire, so the entire outside is contained in chicken wire at nighttime. Then I have three different volunteers that sleep there at night," Moore said.

"The first night we were open, I didn't have a roll of chicken wire around half the tent. Someone on their bike tried to come right through the door," he added. 

And some fireworks stands go above and beyond that, for security.

The Faith Christian Center for example, will have three church members with open-carry or concealed-weapon permits patrolling the area over the weekend. 

Security is important, because there's lots of money to be made.

Moore said they can make anywhere between $6,000 and $22,000 in the short time they're open.

"It beats the alternative, which would be what? Twenty to thirty Saturdays a year doing car washes, bake sales, and only getting half the amount of money?" Moore said.

As for illegal fireworks, Oregon law forbids fireworks that fly, explode or travel more than 6 feet on the ground or 12 inches in the air.

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