Officials allow fireworks stand to reopen after lowering 'the boom'

SALEM, Ore. - Fire officials have allowed a fireworks stand in Salem to reopen after shutting it down for selling illegal products.

James Dull, the owner of the Black Cat fireworks stand on Wallace Road, said he lost about $2,000 in sales after he was shut down by a deputy fire marshal on Monday.

Laird Case said in a surprise inspection he did he found five types of illegal fireworks being sold at Black Cat. He said they're illegal in Oregon because they explode rather than crackle. On the label it says they shoot flaming pellets and "reports." Reports is another word for explosions.

Dull says he tested the products and didn't think there was an issue. He's relieved to be open again, having rid the stand of the illegal products and paid a fine. He would have been out $30,000 otherwise.

"It has meant some sleepless nights," he said. "Had it gone the way it was going it would have been financially devastating."

Case said: "My goal is not to shut down this fireworks stand. My goal is to keep it operable and to keep our citizens safe."

He paid another fireworks stand on Lancaster Avenue a surprise visit Thursday. He issued a notice there for having products that were missing parts and asked the operators to pull those fireworks.

The man running the stand said he bought the fireworks from a wholesaler in Tacoma, Wash.

The wholesaler, Thunder Fireworks, supplies many of the stands here.

KATU's initial afternoon report on Salem's crackdown on illegal fireworks prompted Portland firefighters to start rechecking fireworks stands later in the day. The concern is how those illegal fireworks ended up at the Salem stand in the first place and whether any other fireworks stands had them too.

Lt. Michael Silva is one of a dozen Portland Fire Bureau inspectors who fanned out across the city to double-check fireworks stands. No illegal fireworks were found at stands in Portland.

"It's rare (to find illegal fireworks)," he said. "I have never heard of it, and I've done some of these inspections now for the last four years. So not in the city of Portland, but it sounds like it may have been an accident from the fireworks wholesaler."

Portland fireworks stand operator Albert Kehdi said most stand operators know the big rule about what can't be sold: "Nothing in Oregon flies in the air," he said.

He's had two fireworks stands in Portland for the past four years and helped out on a fundraising stand before that. He said if the Salem sales were an honest mistake then "that's an honest mistake that's very difficult to do if you're selling fireworks in Oregon."

KATU reporter Bob Heye contributed to this report.