Ore. Fireworks Stings Find Stores Lax

Hillsboro Fire and Rescue inspectors conducted sting operations Thurs., July 1 on fireworks retailers to ensure they were following state laws regarding the sale of fireworks to minors, according to a department press release.

The operation checked the 19 area fireworks stands or stores selling fireworks and discovered that eight of the 19 outlets improperly sold fireworks to under-age teens. Fire Inspectors issued numerous warnings and revoked the fireworks sales permit of one retailer. Oregon State Law limits fireworks sales to customers age 16 and over without an adult or guardian present.

The operation involved two teams of inspectors with their daughters, both of whom were under 16, the department reports. In each of the cases of sales violations, the under-aged girls entered the fireworks stand or retailer and purchased fireworks without having to produce identification or verify their age. Fire Inspectors followed up with each vendor and warned them of the infringement.

"We're not trying to make things difficult for the vendors," said Hillsboro Fire Marshal John Rinier, "We just want them to follow the law and not sell to young people under the age of 16 without an adult present."

The location where a permit was revoked was the Albertsons store located at NE 25th and Cornell. In that instance, the clerk rang up the sale and the cash register prompted the clerk to check the girl's identification. He did and the girl confirmed she was not 16. The clerk experienced a problem with the register and requested assistance from a supervisor. The supervisor also checked the girl's ID, heard she was not 16 and overrode the register's ID caution flag.

"We felt this was particularly egregious," Rinier said, "particularly in light of the fact it was an established retailer."

Hillsboro Fire and Rescue conducted the sting operations after consulting the Oregon State Fire Marshal, the department reports. The city logged its first fireworks-related fire on Tuesday when two teens were apprehended after tossing a smoke bomb through the open window of an occupied mobile home. The firework ignited clothing. The occupant of the mobile home was able to extinguish the blaze with minimal damage.