Fireworks sales, complaints skyrocket ahead of holiday

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Fireworks sales are skyrocketing, and so are the complaints in the city of Grand Rapids.

Local fireworks store owners say they are seeing their best sales ever this year. At the same time, the Grand Rapids Fire Department says it is seeing a record number of complaints.

“We believe everyone has been cooped up for a long time, they want to express themselves. They are looking for excitement,” said GRFP Lt. William Smith. 

Some are finding it at GS Fireworks in Wyoming 

“Sales have been through the roof,” said owner David Jewell.

Jewell says sales for the month of May are up by 300% from last year. 

“July is always my biggest month and it’s yet to be known,” Jewell said. “We still have four-five huge days of sales. I got my fingers crossed that this place is empty.”

Other local stores are seeing the same, telling News 8 it’s their best year since consumer fireworks were legalized nine years ago, but not everyone is celebrating.

“It’s been terrible,” said Shelley Walker, a resident of Grand Rapids’ West Side. “There is a lot of fireworks going off for a month or more.”

Walker says her dog, Ellie is scared to leave the house.

 “She is shaking right now. I can feel her,” she said.

Walker is one of many people complaining. The city of Grand Rapids says there is a 532% increase in firework complaints from last year. 

“Please stop, please stop. That’s all you can say but as of the 29th, (of June) they are legal,” Walker said.

They may be legal, but only between 11 a.m. and 11:45 p.m. from now through July 4.

“Our message is if you are using fireworks outside of those allotted times, knock it off,” Smith said. “We really want you to get along with your neighbors. We don’t’ want law enforcement to get involved and write you a civil infraction where you may have to write a check for a $1,000.”

More importantly the fire department doesn’t want anyone to get hurt. Grand Rapids has reported six injuries related to fireworks this year. Half of those were burns to face. 

“We hope you have a great Fourth. We hope it’s happy and safe,” Smith said. 

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