Galveston County may ban fireworks

June 28, 2011 9:04:50 PM PDT
Tomball is the latest on a growing list of cities and organizations canceling Fourth of July fireworks shows because of fear of starting a fire. And most of you won't be able to enjoy fireworks either.

Galveston is the only county in our area where commercial fireworks can be bought, sold and used.

Fireworks vendors say they are worried right now. They know they could be forced to shut down their stands a lot sooner than expected.

At Elma's TexMex Fireworks outside Dickinson, the shelves are stocked. But workers say the pre-holiday rush hasn't been the same.

"It's been pretty slow for right now," employee Jesus Bravo Jr. said.

It's a similar story a few miles away in Santa Fe. Workers at one stand there say they're also struggling to move fireworks this season.

"Two counties around us, Harris and Fort Bend, have closed down their fireworks stands, and people are just very cautious of what's going on right now," said George Koeing with Santa Fe Fireworks.

Fireworks vendors across Galveston County say they are trying to sell as much product as they can right now.

They know they could be forced to shut down in a few days if the county judge calls for a total fireworks ban.

"It's scary. It's real scary to think that, you know, they might not let us open because of this drought," Elma's TexMex Fireworks' Elma Calderon said.

The Galveston County Fire Fighters Association told the county judge it believes allowing people to light up fireworks this holiday could put a strain on the 17 fire departments covering the area.

"With the drought condition and the weather what it is right now, it's just dangerous; it's dangerous for not only the firefighters who are going to have to go out and fight the fires, it's also dangerous for the individuals that are using them," said Mike Wisko with the Galveston County Firefighters Association.

In additions to some regular customers, vendors told me that have seen some people from Harris and Montgomery counties buying fireworks despite bans in those areas.

The vendors say they're bracing themselves for a holiday weekend without fireworks.

"I hate to see it not being able to be celebrated and we'd like it to happen," Santa Fe Fireworks' Phyllis Koenig said.

Firefighters say the Galveston County judge could make a decision on a fireworks ban by Friday.

You should also know violators in Harris County face a $1,000 fine or jail time.

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