Sale of fireworks begin in Fillmore ahead of July 4th

2022-07-02 04:44:42 By : Mr. Leo Dai

Fillmore resident Scott Beylik, who has sold fireworks for 15 years, tells his customers to have two items on hand on the Fourth of July.

The Rotary Club of Fillmore treasurer was dispensing advice Tuesday on the first day of fireworks sale in the only Ventura County city that sells the so-called "safe and sane" fireworks.

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"No matter where you are, no matter what you do, a hose and a bucket of water," Beylik said. "They don't blow up. They can't."

Tuesday was the first of seven days fireworks will be sold in various stands throughout the city, with proceeds benefitting schools, nonprofits and other community organizations. Typically, about 20 groups sell fireworks every year, city officials have said previously.

Not everyone is excited about this fundraising effort. Brett Reed, city of Ventura fire marshal, cautions against the use of any fireworks, including those sold in Fillmore. All fireworks are illegal for sale or use in Ventura and all other cities and unincorporated areas of the county.

Reed said it's especially dangerous to set off fireworks with the state facing a historic drought and with conditions that are critically dry.

"I understand that fireworks are a wonderful part of our Independence Day traditions but they do pose, again, a serious threat to wildfire and personal injury," Reed said. "They're illegal. They’re unpredictable and can easily spark fires."

All fireworks legally sold in the state have a state fire marshal seal that reads "safe-sane registered." Beylik noted the label "just means they don't explode."

"They're not going to blow up," he said. "They're not an M-80. They're not a firecracker."

Beylik said fireworks used as projectiles, such as bottle rockets or anything that leaves the ground, cannot be sold legally. The legal fireworks sold in Fillmore are completely different, he said.

"All this stuff sits and it only shoots up sparks maybe 4 to 5 feet in the air with a bunch of pretty colors, and sometimes they whistle and sometimes they snap, crackle, pop," Beylik said.

Fireworks remain dangerous, he said. While the fireworks sold in the state are "as safe as they're going to get," if a person puts a hand over it when sparks shoot out, it can burn, Beylik said. 

He said most complaints about fireworks usually involve illegal kinds such as bottle rockets, firecrackers and even mortars.

"That's really the dangerous stuff. A bottle rocket you launch up onto the side of a hill ... and that's what's going to start a brush fire," Beylik said.

Beylik said fireworks can't legally be sold to anyone under 16 and vendors in Fillmore will check identification if the person looks underage. 

Fillmore fireworks range in price from $5 for ground bloom flowers to more than $800 for a block party package, which includes multiple fountains and other fireworks, he said. The most popular fireworks are smaller sparklers called Morning Glory, Beylik said. 

Beylik said the Rotary Club gave $12,000 in scholarships to the local school district last year as well as money to other groups with funds raised from fireworks sales.

Christine Schieferle, superintendent of the Fillmore Unified School District, volunteered for a late shift on Tuesday at the Rotary location with two blue flags outside a large booth on Highway 126.

She said the sale of fireworks is a longstanding tradition in Fillmore and the money goes to a variety of programs.

"It's amazing how much our small town gives back to its kids, and firework sales have been significant to the donations that we receive," Schieferle said. 

Fillmore High School received $200,000 in scholarships donated from various nonprofits last year, Schieferle said.

Wes Woods II covers West County for the Ventura County Star. Reach him at, 805-437-0262 or @JournoWes.