Vendor Says Commercial-Grade Rocket Is Mislabeled as Consumer Firework

Lucas vendor files complaint over rocket that he says is too powerful to be consumer product

By Randy McIlwain
|  Wednesday, Jul 3, 2013  |  Updated 7:57 PM CDT
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Nathan Bullard of Mr. Big's Fireworks in Lucas triggered a statewide investigation when he filed a complaint with state fire marshals alleging that some dangerous commercial grade fireworks are being mislabeled and sold to regular consumers.

Randy McIIwain, NBC 5 News

Nathan Bullard of Mr. Big's Fireworks in Lucas triggered a statewide investigation when he filed a complaint with state fire marshals alleging that some dangerous commercial grade fireworks are being mislabeled and sold to regular consumers.

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Nathan Bullard of Mr. Big's Fireworks in Lucas says some dangerous commercial grade fireworks are being mislabeled and sold to regular consumers. He showed NBC 5's Randy McIlwain how dangerous those fireworks can be.

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A Collin County fireworks vendor has filed a complaint that has launched a statewide investigation.

Nathan Bullard, owner of Mr. Big's fireworks in Lucas, said he believes some commercial-grade fireworks are mislabeled as consumer products and sold at retail stands across North Texas.

Bullard filed his complaint with the State Fire Marshal's Office on June 24 after a friend purchased an Eruption Rocket from another vendor. The firework's label has all the necessary warnings and also clearly states that it's a consumer product.

"This one in particular stands out," Bullard said. "It's way more powerful than anything that I sell."

Bullard tested the rocket against other consumer-grade rockets and filmed it as evidence. The consumer-grade rockets split a watermelon into large chunks, but the Eruption Rocket vaporized the melon into nothing and left an imprint in the plywood and on the ground where it sat.

"These products right here that are being sold over-the-counter to consumers that have no idea what they're buying -- these are dangerous, and I don't want somebody to get hurt," Bullard said.

Only licensed pyrotechnicians can purchase commercial-grade fireworks.

The State Fire Marshal's Office confirmed that an investigation is open and active.

Bullard is highly critical of the response to his complaint thus far.

"Where there's an immediate danger, they should step in and find them, and they haven't," he said.

A spokesperson for the State Fire Marshal's Office said some vendors are voluntarily taking Eruption Rockets off the shelves. But state investigators do not have the authority to simply pull the products from stands until the items are tested and graded as being commercial-level products.

The Consumer Protection Safety Commission, which regulates fireworks compliance, told Bullard his video demonstration was not enough.

A CPSC representative confirmed that one of its investigators emailed Bullard about his concerns. In the email, the investigator told Bullard that his video does not prove the fireworks are mislabeled.

"Cool demonstration, but that doesn't show whether the device is in compliance or not," the CPSC investigator wrote.

In other emails, the investigator said the CPSC would focus on America's ports and stopping the supply of illegally imported fireworks.

Bullard said his goal is simple -- to keep commercial-grade products out of the hands of everyday people because accidents and injuries can give his industry a black eye.

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