Business is booming at the Phantom Fireworks stand of the Solano Aquatic Sea Otters. Ever since the stand opened for business, located at Highway 12 and Marina Boulevard, on Thursday it’s been flush with fireworks lovers from all over the region.
For the Sea Otters, each state-approved firework sold at the stand will amount to a profit that can help propel the team to regional tournaments.
“Everything’s going good, everything is working out really good,” Sea Otters President Camille Anderson said. “We have people coming from all over the place.”
Anderson said the stand’s customers are originating from Suisun City, Fairfield, Vacaville, Rio Vista and as far away as Sacramento. The use of Safe and Sane fireworks however, is only allowed in three Solano County cities including Suisun, Dixon and Rio Vista.
It’s a fact that Suisun Fire Chief Mike O’Brien hopes is not lost on the people who purchase fireworks at one of the three stands operating in Suisun.
“Safe and Sane fireworks belong inside the City of Dixon inside the City of Suisun and inside the City of Rio Vista (not) the whole rest of the county, Fairfield, Vacaville, Benicia,” he said. “Obviously, the fire districts are worried because most of their districts are open-county lands.”
But the fireworks that worry Chief O’Brien are not the ones being sold in the stands, he said, illegal ones do.
“Other fireworks that fly, such as bottle rockets, explode, like M-80s, those kind of things,” he said. “They are illegal everywhere in the state, whether the city has a Safe and Sane firework ordinance or not.”
O’Brien said that the hopes the availability of Safe and Sane fireworks will deter people from lighting illegal ones in Suisun. He said the department has not seen an uptick in the amount of illegal fireworks so far that would be considered attributable to the state-approved fireworks.
Anyone who thinks it would be a good idea to light an illegal firework in Suisun, should think twice, O’Brien said. The police department will be out looking for this type of behavior throughout the night. He said that some fireworks are considered destructive devices and can carry heavier penalties if the person is caught with them.
Chief O'Brien points out that the ordinance prevents people from lighting fireworks on any street, city-owned property or public place such as the Suisun Waterfront. They are only allowed to be used on private property (such as driveways).
The ban on Safe-and-Sane fireworks has been in place since 1983, until recently when the Suisun City Council adopted an ordinance that allowed for the sale and use of the fireworks.
For the Sea Otters and the rest of the nonprofit groups who are selling the fireworks, the potential of making thousands of dollars of profit for their respective groups is worth the time and effort that is put into staffing the booths.
Anderson said she hopes the stand generates – the booth proceeds will be split between Phantom Fireworks, the City of Suisun and the Sea Otters she said – about $16,000 for the Sea Otters.
“We are hoping to get … $16,000, we are hoping for that,” she said. “Number one, we don’t have a pool right now so we are driving out of town to Benicia, Vallejo to use their pool, it can help us with travel. We have a lot of swimmers in Solano, they are at a national level and we have some kids who are aspiring kids, who are really fast in the water. And we could bring them to different places, where they can compete at higher levels. Costs are getting up higher and higher every year, it helps.”