Firework sales up after a number of Fourth of July shows cancelled

NOW: Firework sales up after a number of Fourth of July shows cancelled

MILWAUKEE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) - Due to cancellations, firework stores have seen an increase in sales, and law enforcement says they’ve even seen an uptick in firework-related calls the past month.

Firework stores in our area say the cancellation of big firework shows have given them a boost in sales, they say some families plan to shoot them off right in their backyard.

“The fourth is going to be absolutely nuts around here,” said Dolan Pomrening, operations manager at American Fireworks in Big Bend.

American Fireworks in Waukesha County’s Village of Big Bend says their busiest day is around the corner, and with COVID-19 customers say they’re shooting fireworks from home.

“Because of COVID-19 I think there will be more firework purchases and more stuff going on with the families at their homes,” said Debbie Mann, a customer.

“It’s unfortunate with COVID-19 and all the shutdowns with that, but as far as it goes here, sales have been up,” said Pomrening.

In Big Bend, some fireworks are allowed to be used with a $35 village permit, but in Milwaukee County, sheriff deputies want people to know fireworks are completely illegal. They say fireworks can cause stress to pets and people with post-traumatic stress disorder.  

“There’s a fine for $200.50 and you can face that fine if you are caught setting off fireworks in the county,” said Deputy Kristine Rodriguez with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

Even though it’s illegal, fireworks are still going off.  CBS 58 filed an open records request and Milwaukee police records show more than 950 firework calls were placed from June 1 to June 25 within city limits, and it’s often confused with gunshots.

“We’re getting tons of calls, people saying oh I think there’s gunshots going on down the street from my house or right by my house, but in fact it’s fireworks,” said Deputy Virgyl Maxwell with the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

The Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office says people can anonymously report fireworks through their app. Last year there were 10,000 firework-related injuries reported in the country.

”I feel people are trying to take the firework shows into their own hands,” said Deputy Maxwell. “Unfortunately you can’t do that within the city as you know houses are closer together there.”

Meanwhile, Pomrening hopes his customers will use them safely and legally this Fourth of July weekend.

“Anything you’re setting and lighting, make sure that it’s solidly on the ground,” said Pomrening.

Pomrening says out of all the fireworks, sparklers cause the most burn injuries during the Fourth of July weekend. He suggests having a big bucket of water or hose ready if you do plan to light fireworks.

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