Springfield officials warn residents: Don’t shoot off fireworks

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Video sent to Springfield officials shows fireworks malfunctioning in neighborhood

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Springfield’s Fire Chief is asking residents to leave the fireworks to the professionals this Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Chief Brian Miller said Thursday he understands that residents may be disappointed that many professional firework displays have been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, he is asking residents not to shoot off fireworks as they can malfunction and cause harm or start fires.

“Fireworks are explosives and if you don’t have the training you shouldn’t blow stuff up,” Miller said. “They are dangerous, they do cause fires.”

Miller said if residents have plans to shoot off fireworks he has a request.

“If you shooting them please don’t, consider your neighbors,” Miller said.

RELATED: Springfield police see ‘dramatic increase’ in fireworks reports, others do not

The City of Springfield has seen a “dramatic increase,” in the use of fireworks, Springfield Police Cheif Lee Graf told the Springfield News-Sun last week.

Between May 1 and June 23 of 2019, the Springfield Police Division responded to 25 calls referencing fireworks. During that same time period this year, police responded to 199 calls referencing fireworks for a nearly 700% increase.

Springfield’s significant jump mirrors a trend sweeping the country. For example, Boston reported a 2,300% increase while on the other side of the country, Pasadena, Calif. reported a 400% increase in complaints to police about fireworks, according to a report from CNN.

Graf said the police division tends to always see an increase in reports of fireworks because of the Fourth of July holiday.

“It is illegal,” Graf said. “For people just having firecrackers, the little, small things you remember as a kid, or the bigger stuff - they’re not allowed to have that and they’re not allowed to use it.”

In Ohio, it’s legal to buy fireworks but not shoot them off.

Discharging commercial-grade fireworks without the proper license is a third-degree felony while discharging a consumer-grade firework, like a bottle rocket, firecracker or roman candle, is a first-degree misdemeanor, Graf said.

The Ohio House of Representative recently passed legislation to allow wider use of consumer-grade fireworks. However, Gov. Mike DeWine has said publicly he does not support the bill.

Complaints aren’t the only thing on the rise, firework sales have also seen a spike.

MORE: Springfield man indicted after allegedly escaping a police car, hiding in dumpster

In 2019, $1 billion of the fireworks industry’s $1.4 billion revenue came from backyard consumer fireworks, according to the American Pyrotechnic Association. This year, fireworks sales began spiking earlier — around Memorial Day weekend — and some retailers across the country are reporting that sales are up double or triple, according to the APA.

TNT Fireworks, which has stores across the country including in the Miami Valley, has seen an increase in sales, Sherri Simmons, spokesperson for TNT said. She said the earlier spike in sales could be caused by people wanting to purchase fireworks ahead of the Fourth of July weekend in order to maintain social distancing and avoid lines.

Staff Writer Kaylee Harter contributed to this report.

Safety for use of legal, home fireworks

  • Have a hose and bucket of water nearby, even for sparklers.
  • A sober adult should be the "designated shooter."
  • Never hold fireworks in your hand
  • Always read the instructions

For more safety tips: