Shop storage of fireworks was 'incredibly dangerous' , says Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service senior officer

A Washington shop stored fireworks in a manner which was 'not only reckless but extremely dangerous,' a senior fire officer has said.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 14:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 14:48 pm
Fireworks inside the shop

Autosport Discount Centres, in Concord, has been issued with a caution, following the seizure of fireworks last year.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) visited the premises on October 20, 2017, acting on information from Sunderland City Council Trading Standards, and discovered fireworks on display being unsafely stored.

Boxes of fireworks piled up

The premises did not have a valid explosives licence and had never had one.

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Inspectors found a number of issues:

*there was no suitable fire safety arrangements in place, both on the shop floor retail area and the rear stock area. Officers discovered fireworks being unsafely stored both on the shop floor and in the stock area with potential ignition sources such as car batteries being stored close by;

*the fireworks in the retail area were not within a suitable display cabinet, allowing the public easy access to them;

Autosport Discount Centres

*no inventory was kept so staff had no control over the amount of fireworks kept on the shop floor;

*there was poor housekeeping throughout, with boxes being kept in various positions within the building, including next to flammable substances.

TWFRS Area Manager Lynsey McVay, said: "What our Fire Safety Inspectors found at this business was not only reckless but extremely dangerous. Not having a valid licence to store fireworks is a criminal offence and can lead to an unlimited fine, two years imprisonment or both.

"Among many issues we also found that fireworks were not stored correctly or safely. The fireworks were not kept within a fire resisting storeroom away from other miscellaneous stock items and were stacked next to other flammable stock items and in close proximity to the car repair garage at the rear of the building – this is incredibly dangerous.”

A mixture of Hazard Type 3 and Hazard Type 4 fireworks were stored on the premises – the guidance states some form of detached storage such as an ISO container should have been provided – but was not.

Following the inspection, the fireworks were removed and kept at one of the service's licenced storage locations.

Now the service is reminding businesses of the consequences of not having a valid explosives licence if they wish to sell and store fireworks for the New Year and Chinese New Year period.

Area Manager McVay added: “The licence application process is very simple, businesses just need to request an inspection through our website and the inspection will then be arranged within 28 days.”

TWFRS Fire Safety Inspectors can help businesses through this process by carrying out inspections to ensure that fireworks are stored legally and safely in accordance with the Explosives Regulations 2014. To request advice or apply for an explosives licence, visit www.twfire.gov.uk and request an inspection.

The service is also underlining the fact that it is illegal to sell fireworks outside of the selling period, which at this time of year extends from Boxing Day to New Year's Eve.

To report concerns of storage or selling of fireworks outside of this period, contact the Business Fire Safety Team on 0191 444 1664 or 0191 444 1500 (out of hours).

Autosports Discount Centres declined to comment.