Law Enforcement Warns Against Tampering Fireworks

Sioux Falls Bomb Squad Most Commonly Finds Fireworks Bundled Together

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Fireworks fill the sky every Fourth of July.

Retail tents provide exploding excitement for any interested buyer.

While it provides legal fun, Sgt. Robert Forster with the Sioux Falls Regional Bomb Squad said it comes with a short fuse.

“If you take any kind of firework and alter that original state from what the manufacturer makes it and tests it to obviously do is something that becomes very dangerous,” said Sgt. Forster.

Bootlegged fireworks are not uncommon, but Sioux Falls police haven’t seen any serious injuries or damage from them.

That could simply be due to luck.

“The most common things that we see around here is the bundling of different kinds of fireworks, maybe being bunched together,” said Sgt. Forster.

One of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives worries when it comes to illegal fireworks is what’s called “flash powder.”

They say that is the most common trend of illegal fireworks.

When flash powder is outside of a firework, it can be extremely reactive.

Heat, friction and even static can make the powder explode.

ATF officials notes consumer fireworks are tightly wrapped, keeping flash powder contained.

A combination of different fireworks, however, can put the powder in unintended places.

“Any time that you take an explosive and alter it from its original state, it becomes unstable,” said Forster.

Forster also said that unpredictability could be life changing.

“If you don’t know what you’re doing or to add to that and if you add the wrong thing or if you have any type of a spark, static from your clothing, just depending on what chemical may be in that firework, you could ignite it, and then that would become a very dangerous situation,” said Sgt. Forester.

Serious injury or damage isn’t the only problem with illegal fireworks.

Using fireworks with the intent to injure someone or destroy property can also lead to felony charges in South Dakota.

Shooting fireworks that make noise or launch into the air within the Sioux Falls city limits is also illegal.

A neighbor complaint could lead to a $95 fine.

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