EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. (KKTV) - The Colorado Springs Police Department’s Bomb Squad burned thousands of dollars-worth of illegal fireworks on Thursday that were confiscated over the July Fourth holiday.
Sgt. Chris Arseneau is the regional explosives unit supervisor for the police department’s bomb squad. He oversaw the fireworks burning at the El Paso County Hazardous Waste Disposal Thursday.
“The process itself is going to be fairly anticlimactic,” Arseneau said. “You’re going to see some sparks. You’re going to see a little bit of flame and then it’s just going to be a lot of smoke.”
He said he didn’t know the exact number of fireworks that were burned but said it filled a 6x6x8 dumpster. He estimated the fireworks were worth thousands of dollars.
“Several of the big boxes are probably $500-$600 each that were taken this year,” Arseneau said.
According to the police department, officers gave four people citations on the Fourth of July. Officials said it can be hard to figure out who set the fireworks off. If people are caught with fireworks, they could face up to a $2,500 fine or spend up to 189 days in jail.
This year, the police department had a zero tolerance policy for illegal fireworks.
“There’s just no place to set those off because once they travel in the air, you lose control,” Arseneau said. “You don’t know where they’re going to go and you may have a nice big dirt pit, but as soon as that firework goes up in the air and gets hit with a gust of wind and lands in another field, then you’ve got a problem.”
He said disposing of fireworks is one of the most dangerous parts of the job for bomb technicians.
“Especially when you deal with large quantities of fireworks, like what we do, you have a problem with confinement -- with explosions -- meaning that if you get too many fireworks into one area and they all go off at once, you’ve in turn created a bomb in and of itself,” Arseneau said.
He said the bomb squad would monitor the dumpster for about 12 hours and wait at least 48 hours before moving the burned material.