Illegal Fireworks for Sale, But At What Cost? - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Illegal Fireworks for Sale, But At What Cost?

It's that time of the year for families to stock up on fireworks to celebrate 4th of July.

Across the valley, non-profit group are running stands to sell the fireworks as a fundraiser.

In Fresno alone, there are 60 stands.

Groups enter a lottery to be able to sell fireworks to raise money.

“Helmets, uniforms, transportation, anything the program needs, we're using 100 percent of proceeds to develop that program,” says Todd Piggot, a member of the Clovis North Football Boosters.

All of the fireworks sold at stands are legal—ranging in prices from 98 cents to hundreds of dollars.

And, all the fireworks show the Safe and Sane logo, deemed safe by the State Fire Marshall.

But, some don't want to settle for what these fireworks offer, and they're willing to fork over cash.

KMPH Fox 26 investigated and uncovered locals posting illegal fireworks for sale online, over and over again.

Mortars.

Bottle rockets.

Artillery shells.

You name it, and it was available online, ranging from $10 to $1,500.

We contacted two sellers by text message.

Both admitted they bought them in Nevada.

"An illegal firework is anything that leaves the ground," says Koby Johns, with the Fresno Fire Department.

He says while illegal vendors may cash-in at first, they -- and those who buy their goods -- could pay a lot down the line if they're caught.

Penalties include a $1,000 dollar fine.

Any illegal fireworks found, will be confiscated.

"Our fire investigations unit is aware of it. Local law enforcement agencies are aware of it. It's like shooting fish in a barrel," Johns says.

"You're sending something up that's an incendiary device. It catches fire, then it goes down. You have no control where it goes down."

Piggot hopes that those who are willing to buy illegal fireworks reconsider.

After all, "they're damaging us. We're here to raise money for our schools, athletic programs, and putting the money back in our community. That's where we want it to stay," he says.

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