Letter: We need full picture before fireworks ban


Below is my response to the opinion article in the Whidbey News-Times to Commissioner Melanie Bacon’s opinion article concerning the proposed fireworks ban in Island County.

Have you ever noticed that when an individual wants to make a point, they speak in half truths. In Commissioner Bacon’s opinion article she states “in 2021 Island County had the most fires caused by fireworks of any Washington State County with a population under 100,000.”

Here is what she left out her opinion article: In 2021, the Washington state fire marshal’s office received 180 reports of fireworks related incidents reported by hospitals, clinics and fire agencies.

The below figures are for all of Washington states (39 counties) for 2021:

  • 110 fires reported due to fireworks resulting in a loss of $122,000.
  • 70 injuries reported down nearly 30 percent from the previous year.
  • 23 injuries were due to someone being hit by fire works and/or debris.
  • 19 injuries were classified as burns.

When you look at the above information and take into consideration that it is for all of Washington state, it’s not as bad as Commissioner Bacon tries to make it appear in her article.

Prior to making fireworks illegal (for private citizens) in Island County, I suggest the following be gathered by Commissioner Bacon and released to the public in the last five years (broken down by year):

1) How many fire work related fires were reported to any fire district within island county, and the fire department responded?

2) How many injuries related to fireworks were reported to police or hospitals in Island County?

3) How many noise complaints were received by the police pertaining to animals?

4) How many individuals suffering from PTSD called the police to complain of the noise created by the fireworks. (I do not take this lightly as I have a family member whom is 100 percent disabled by PTSD)?

I would even challenge Melanie to go one step further and break down the firework statistics by the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve. Collect more data prior to making a final decision.

Willie Sharp