Local fireworks bust one of largest authorities can remember

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Cleveland police said officers discovered $100,000 worth of commercial grade fireworks when they were led to a garage at a home on West Pleasant Valley Road in Parma on Monday.

Police said it's one of the largest illegal fireworks busts anyone can remember.

They are using the raid to remind people about fireworks safety this holiday weekend.

"Large fireworks in the hands of people that are not professionals are extremely dangerous," said Cleveland Second District Commander Thomas Stacho.

Cleveland safety forces held a news conference Wednesday afternoon at the Cleveland Firefighters Memorial statue near FirstEnergy Stadium.

Commander Stacho said their investigation began when undercover officers from the second district went to buy illegal fireworks from a home on West 46th Street in Cleveland.

"With that information, the male that sold them some fireworks offered to sell them larger commercial fireworks. Detectives followed this individual to an address in Parma, unbeknownst to this individual, he was with police officers," said Stacho.

Police arrested a 77-year-old Parma man and a Cleveland man in his mid-40s. They could face felony charges.

Many people who live in the Parma neighborhood said the fireworks bust is unsettling.

"It's concerning. If that were ever to explode, that would be a problem in the neighborhood," said Parma resident, Bob Eiben.

"We're just glad he was a street over, cause if something had happened, at least we're farther away from him," said resident, Della Eiben.

"We want you all to be safe and enjoy a happy Fourth of July," said Cleveland Fire Chief Patrick Kelly.

Cleveland police and fire officials used the incident to remind people of the dangers illegal fireworks can pose.

"Fireworks are illegal within the city of Cleveland. There are only certain things that you're legally allowed to set off; those include sparklers, smoke bombs and some of the smaller snap caps," said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.

Williams said last year, the police department received more than 500 calls for fireworks complaints. He said the fire and EMS divisions received just as many.

"If that location where the fireworks were found had somehow ignited, it would have blew up half the neighborhood," said the chief.

Fire chief Kelly said even sparklers, which can seem innocent for children to play with, can reach temperatures of 1200 degrees.