A business owner is fighting back after over $100,000 worth of fireworks were confiscated from his stand.
“It was a lot of merchandise,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Fire Marshall Jeff Lucas. “It took us about five hours to inventory it, collect it and store it.”
Among the fireworks confiscated were Hardcore Pyro fireworks, artillery shells and grand finale fireworks.
“Things that go up, blow up and explode can hurt and maim people, so the state has guidelines on what you’re allowed to buy,” Lucas said.
The fireworks belonged to Big Bang Fireworks owner Justin Driggers, who said he has a waiver, which allows him to sell the products.
“My name’s Justin, owner of Big Bang Fireworks,” Driggers said in a video posted to YouTube. “We sell legal fireworks throughout the state of Florida. These are the same products that you see in the big stores. We promote safety each and every day with our customers. We go over the proper way to use these products.”
However, city officials disagree.
“While he was putting it out on the table getting ready for sale, we approached him and asked him and advised him that the stuff he was selling was not on the approved list of sparklers, that he would have to remove them,” Lucas said. “He insisted that he wasn’t gonna take them off the table. He insisted that he wasn’t gonna comply with the codes of Broward County and the State of Florida.”
Driggers claims Florida’s statute protects his right to sell the fireworks and has hired an attorney. “You have to respect these products, but they are not illegal. They are very highly regulated by federal government,” he said in the video.
However, city officials said, approved fireworks are on a list that can be checked online.
An official demonstrated how one can use the list.
“It’s a rocket that goes up in the air. It’s manufactured by TNT and a simple search, if you go to the State Fire Marshall’s approved list and it’s a searchable document, you can type in just something as simple as Jumbo Rocket. You hit enter, and there we go,” the official said.
“It’s very dangerous these fireworks,” Lucas said. “Even the safe fireworks are dangerous. They need adult supervision.”
The City of Fort Lauderdale can comment no further on the matter, pending litigation.