Katy fire marshal offers fireworks safety tips

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 6/30/22

Gregg Peterson has a confession to make: he used to enjoy fireworks shows before he became what he calls “the bad guy.”

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Katy fire marshal offers fireworks safety tips


Gregg Peterson has a confession to make: he used to enjoy fireworks shows before he became what he calls “the bad guy.”

As Katy fire marshal, Peterson and his colleagues have responsibility for putting out local fires and investigating their causes. Shooting fireworks inside the Katy city limits is illegal, he said.

They can also be a potential fire hazard.

“The biggest problem with these fires is that people don’t dispose of fireworks materials properly,” Peterson said.

Peterson suggested that used fireworks materials be put in separate trash cans, and not mixed with regular household trash. Used fireworks materials can also be put in buckets, similar to what one might buy at a home improvement store such as Home Depot or Lowe’s.

“We actually recommend that they wet them down,” Peterson said. “It’s kind of nasty to clean up after the fact, but it’s safer than just putting them in dry. There are a lot of fireworks components that can still smolder after the fact. It can be dangerous.”

Fireworks can also be tough on family pets. Pets kept outside can react badly to ongoing fireworks explosions. Peterson said bringing family pets inside the house and comforting them during that time is a big plus.

“Try to isolate them as much as you can inside the house,” Peterson said. “Pay a little more attention to them.”

With things settling down after the pandemic this weekend, Peterson said he expected plenty of people to shoot fireworks this weekend. Shoot fireworks safely and in places where it is legal to do so. He said not to shoot fireworks near churches, schools, elderly care facilities or hospitals. If shooting on private property, Peterson said, get the property owner’s permission first.

“Most people shoot them in the street,” Peterson said, adding that there are neighborhood ordinances that prohibit fireworks.

Peterson said the Cane Island subdivision, which is inside the Katy city limits, has many new residents who are unaware of the city’s fireworks ban.

“There’s a lot of confusion in that neighborhood,” Peterson said.

Peterson said those planning to shoot fireworks outside the city should check their neighborhood association ordinances. They should also check with the county where they plan to shoot fireworks and be aware of any burn bans—and possible restrictions—that might be in effect.

While shooting fireworks is illegal within the city limits, selling them is not. Peterson said some organizations sell fireworks to raise money to support charitable causes.

One such place is the fireworks stand at 23222 Kingsland Blvd. The American Legion Post 164 has members who staff it. One of them, Wallace Klekar, said this is the second year the post has had such a stand and the first at this location. He said the post sells fireworks as a fundraiser to supports veterans, children and youth.

“The stand belongs to Galaxy Fireworks,” Klekar said. “We did it last year in a Randall’s parking lot. This year we have a larger stand and are hoping to raise more money.”

A larger stand means a wider selection of merchandise. Klekar said kids prefer sparklers and old firecrackers. Teenagers prefer fountains and some rockets. Adults, he said, prefer large,r bigger fireworks.

“We hope people will buy fireworks from us and support the American Legion post,” Klekar said. “It’s a bunch of hardworking veterans.”

The stand opened June 23 and will operate through Tuesday.

July 4, fireworks, Katy Fire Marshal