Fireworks party at Kelley Farm fires up neighbors at explosions

Dennis Box

The Courier-Herald

A fireworks party at the Kelley Farm May 29 caused a rash of calls to 9-1-1 and sent Bonney Lake Police Officers and the Pierce County Sheriffs scurrying to find the source of the explosions.

The Childs' Fireworks Company put on the fireworks display. According to East Pierce Fire & Rescue Assistant Fire Marshal John McDonald the display had all the proper permits, which were issued by Pierce County Fire Marshall Wayne Wienholz.

Childs' is a state licensed fireworks display company.

Since the display was in the county, neither the Bonney Lake Police Department nor the Pierce County Sheriffs Department were made aware of the show.

East Pierce Fire and Rescue was not involved in the permit process, but was the agency that would respond in case of fire emergency.

McDonald stated they were aware the permits had been granted.

Sandra Grimsley, who lives east of the Kelley farm in Cedarview, stated the explosions were so intense she and her husband were frightened as were many of their neighbors.

"It was very scary. Once those horrendous booms started we weren't sure what was going on," Grimsley said. "We couldn't get through to any emergency number. I called 9-1-1 and never got through. No one answered. Once I became more lucid I got really scared when I thought about that. No one was answering 9-1-1. I finally got hold of the police by calling the Bonney Lake Police number. He told me they were trying to find out what it was. He said they had over 100 calls."

Bonney Lake Chief of Police Bryan Jeter said he lives about a mile from the area and was very surprised by the explosions.

"We were there after we received the complaints," Jeter said. "The county got the call and went there to back them up."

Grimsley stated she and her husband jumped into their car and found the party before the police did.

"There was no public notice about this," Grimsley said. "The community needs to know about this. There needs to be communication on these things. After there is a heightened alarm about terrorist, and something like this happens. I am upset by the whole inconsideration. There was no respect for your neighbors."

At the Childs Fireworks Web site the company advertises they will put a display on any where in the state, any day of the year, promising an "up close and personal experience."

Dennis Box can be reached at

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