If you hear someone shoot off fireworks in your neighborhood Monday, they are likely breaking the law.
Most cities and counties around Puget Sound don’t allow fireworks to be used until July 4, but in an era of fireworks bans, a few places still allow you the freedom to celebrate the holiday without restrictions.
There is only one place in King County where you can buy fireworks and shoot them off Monday: Normandy Park, a community of 6,500 people, sandwiched between Burien and Des Moines.
The possession, manufacture, storage, sale, handling and use of fireworks are prohibited. Fireworks offenses are gross misdemeanors punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.
911 centers become overloaded with non-emergency fireworks calls. Do not call 911 unless you have a life-threatening emergency and need immediate help from police, fire or medics.
In every other city and even unincorporated King County, fireworks are either banned or are illegal to fire off until the 4th.
“It is kind of nice that the community is respectful enough of itself to be able to do that,” said Normandy Park City Manager Glenn Akramoff said. “I think that says a lot about who Normandy Park is.”
The town has always gone all out to celebrate Independence Day, and that isn’t going to change. Some of the houses were already decked out in red, white and blue last week.
“The patriotic fervor has never gone away here,” said Akramoff. “We have families that are on their third generation of being here, and that’s part of it for them.”
There is still a 4th of July parade in the city which draws more than 2,000 people, and residents enjoy the ability to celebrate the traditional way.
Akramoff said there are no plans to change the rules on fireworks, but he admits, they haven’t had a reason.
“A lot of communities have faced a number of incidents where they’ve had fires and then there’s not a lot of respect, neighborly-wise, where you just shoot off your fireworks and you don’t worry about the neighbor,” he said. “That doesn’t happen here.”
He has no problem with other communities banning fireworks either. “I wouldn’t bad mouth any community for doing that because they have to do what’s best for their community,” he said.
King County had 45 fireworks-related fires last year, and 54 people were injured. Nationally, fireworks cause more than 9,000 injuries each year.
There is only one city in Snohomish County that allows fireworks to be shot off without restrictions: Stanwood.
In Kitsap County, there’s also only one town with no restrictions: Poulsbo.
Pierce County is much more relaxed on the fireworks issue. There are six cities with no restrictions, and they can be enjoyed in all of unincorporated Pierce County as well.
Fireworks are banned in Seattle, Bellevue, Everett and Tacoma.