The proper way to dispose of fireworks is to soak the debris for 24 hours. Leftover debris can cause fires if not disposed of properly.

ST. JOSEPH, Missouri — Many fireworks are set off on the Fourth of July, but not everyone knows how to properly dispose of them afterward.

The St. Joseph Fire Department rarely sees people take the time to dispose of leftover fireworks correctly.

Mindy Andrasevits, SJFD fire inspector, says they’ve already had fires this year from people not following protocol.

“It’s best to scoop it up and put it in a bucket or barrel and soak it with water for at least 24 hours to make sure it’s out and wet, then bag it up and throw it away,” Andrasevits said.

The two fires they’ve seen this year caused from leftover firework debris burned a garage and a house down.

Another issue that comes around at this time of year is what to do with fireworks people don’t set off.

If people want to save fireworks for the next year then they need to be in a water tight container, preferably metal.

“Don’t put them in a cardboard box or a plastic bag because that just adds to the fire issue if that becomes a problem,” Andrasevits said.

It’s also important to keep them in a cool and try place to avoid any risks.

If the packaging of fireworks stay in good condition then they’re able to be used for the next year.

The St. Joseph Fire Department also wants to remind anyone getting involved with fireworks to purchase them from a legal business and not to shoot them off in the city limits.

The City of Atchison follows stricter protocols, urging members of the public to not ignite any type of explosive consumer fireworks within city limits in compliance with public safety ordinances.

“Leave the fireworks to the professionals,” reads a recent public announcement. “Do not use consumer fireworks. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals.”

Officials have noted that sparklers, one of the most popular fireworks marketed to children, burn at a temperature at or above 1,200 degrees, which is hot enough to cause third-degree burns from momentary contact.

“Children should never pick up (used) fireworks,” the public announcement reads. “They may still be active.”

Bailey Ketcham can be reached at

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