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Have You Heard the Fireworks? They're Legal to Buy But Not Use Just Yet

Under the new Fireworks Safety Act, you can now buy them in sales tents around town. But you can't lawfully light them until July 3.

The July Fourth holiday is still two weeks away. But to many across Rochester Hills, the nightly snaps, cracks and pops of fireworks are a signal that this year, the occasion may be more patriotic than in the past.

Under the new state Fireworks Safety Act, devices like bottle rockets, roman candles and firecrackers can now be sold and used in Michigan. In Rochester Hills, four sales permits have been issued to businesses wanting to sell fireworks in parking lot tents around town. 

And although Rochester Hills passed an ordinance that restricts the legal use of the fireworks to July 3-5, already the sounds of the season have begun.

On the Rochester Patch Facebook page this week, residents sounded off about the seemingly constant sounds and sights of fireworks in residential neighborhoods.

"I love fireworks, the organized ones for the holiday," posted Cathy Hazen. "I just see no purpose in the random one firework in the middle of the night, every night for weeks." 

When we asked whether people were tired of all the backyard fireworks, 63 people hit "like."

Fireworks for sale

Now that consumers can buy airborne fireworks without leaving Michigan, more than 200 retail sales permits have been issued to temporary sites and stores around Metro Detroit, MLive Media Group reports. Macomb tops the list with 86 sellers, followed by Oakland (61), Wayne (70) and Livingston (38).

Some have colorful names – such as Thunderking in Rochester Hills, Red Dragon in Shelby Township and TNT Fireworks in Royal Oak. Others are generic tents, sprouting like carnivals as a sign of the season. 

The following list shows locations in Rochester Hills that are approved by the state Bureau of Fire Services to sell fireworks this year from an existing business or temporary site. (In Rochester, there are no business parking lots that are the right size to allow for a fireworks sales tent under the law, according to Fire Chief John Cieslik.)

Rochester Hills sites are:

  • Phantom of Michigan, 150 W. Tienken. Applicant: Raechelle Speaker.
  • USA Fireworks, Crooks Road and M-59. Applicant: Don Mock.
  • Thunderking Fireworks, 2627 – 2951 S. Rochester Rd. Applicant: Virgil Johnson.
  • Unnamed tent, 1132 S. Rochester Rd. Applicant: William Munaco.

A searchable list of all 613 businesses statewide is at this Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs site.

When it's legal 

Legislators passed the Fireworks Safety Act, which Gov. Rick Snyder signed last Dec. 13, to generate sales tax revenue and registration fees. Sellers pay $1,000 annually for a permanent site or $600 for a tent or other seasonal, outdoor location.

Cities and townships can’t block sales, and have limited power to restrict where and when individuals can light mini-explosives that whine, bang and boom. The new law bars municipalities from regulating fireworks use on federal holidays – such as July 4 – or the day right before and after.

In Rochester Hills, fireworks can only legally be used on those three days — meaning all of the late-night sounds we are hearing around town are illegal. 

In Rochester, councilmembers will consider a similar ordinance Monday night.

Some residents consider the fireworks a right of passage for the season.

"I see it as everyone is just excited over the fact that they are legal now and just as Christmas has become a monthlong holiday, I don't see why this can't be either," posted Karyn Stanley on the Rochester Patch Facebook page.

"I don't mind it AT ALL!" posted Carla Marten. "It's festive and reminds me of thunder."

Speaking of fireworks

The , the city of Rochester Hills' annual July Fourth celebration, is planned for June 27. Festivities start at 6 p.m. at ; the fireworks show will happen shortly after 10 p.m.

And although the city of Rochester does not have an organized fireworks show, the Rochester City Council recently approved a request from a couple celebrating their wedding at the to have fireworks during the celebration. That will happen Saturday night — just so you know.  

Keep it safe: Rochester Hills Fire Chief Ron Crowell

Bob Mulcrone June 27, 2012 at 04:33 PM
The law legalizing fireworks....worst idea EVER!! The Rochester Hills ordinance is being completely ignored.
Patricia July 02, 2012 at 11:11 AM
I think this new law is not good. We have had fireworks going off at random times in our area already for the past two weeks by neighborhood children. What happens if a fire is started on your roof and you are not home and some of the firework debris is found on your property? What happens when you tell your neighbor to stop pointing the fireworks away from his property and into yours and then he gets upset? What happens when you call the police because your property or health and safety are jeopardized and you are told they have the right? How do the insurances companies feel about this, both property and health? We had a neighbor in the past that did this illegally in the middle of our neighborhood intersection. One rocket exploded about three feet from my husband sitting on our porch.. they shot the stuff off and the debris hit houses-including windows-no one cared and this went on for a few hours and it was illegal. With houses close together, with the dry weather and an increased chance for fires, this is wrong in the hands of amateurs. I doubt though if this activity is going on there will be any assistance to the property owner where the burning embers and debris are falling on their property and roof if it is not after 11pm.
chris murray July 02, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Apparently the tents selling aren't letting the buyers know that it's illegal to shoot them before July 3. I have visited my son who lives in Rochester and I think I would have to pack up and leave due to the fact that the fireworks have been going non stop for weeks. This is absolutely ridiculous in my opinion. Obviously nothing is happening to those shooting them off.
Debbie July 03, 2012 at 12:29 PM
I guess people don't know the "rules" or they just don't care. Fireworks going off in my neighborhood until after 11:15pm last night. One was so loud it rattled my kitchen window! Really? Is that type of celebrating necessary?
Marie July 03, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Fireworks are beautiful showers of colorful illumination that spray the evening sky. Igniting a quarter of a stick of dynamite on your driveway is hardly a firework. It's just plain and obnoxious noise, a violation of peaceful serenity.
Patricia July 03, 2013 at 10:32 PM
A house in Bloomfield Hills or W. Bloomfield had a fire just last week. Turns out the neighbor next door was setting off fireworks illegal as it was not the day before, of, or after and sparks or burning embers set the roof and attic on fire of the neighbors house next door. She was able to escape without injury. How upsetting that an innocent person suffers this type of trauma and loss, not to mention a disruption in their life that could have been totally avoided with common decency and respect. It doesn't take a genius to figure out the properties are too close together. We had neighbors last year setting them off into the street and we are located across the street--we had to run off our porch for fear of injury. It's a sad commentary when 60+ and 30+ year old neighbors that did this thought it was funny-- It was no laughing matter. Injury and fire are serious possibilities to innocent people and their property. Hope it is a safe 4th and people enjoy the professional shows-that is where this stuff belongs-not in our yards and streets.

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