EASTLAKE, Ohio (WJW) – Owning consumer-grade fireworks, firecrackers, bottle rockets, roman candles and the like is legal in Ohio.
Starting on July 1, the new law says you can shoot off consumer-grade fireworks on your property or on someone else’s with permission on certain days of the year, including the Fourth of July.
But there is a part of the law that people tend to forget and it is perhaps the most important bit. Local governments can still tell you no.
“The state did put in the opt out and we’re a chartered community so we can actually have our own ordinances that can override some of the state things,” said Eastlake Mayor Dennis Morley.
Morley says his community has always prohibited personal use of fireworks within city limits but recently the council upgraded the ordinance to include the opt out language.
They’re not alone. Very few communities in northeast Ohio are allowing folks to shoot off fireworks in their own backyard.
Westlake just approved a new ordinance in their community this week, joining a long list of cities adding new ordinances or upgrading old ones.
Morley says they came to their decision mainly because of safety.
“Even in a development where I live, we’re right on top of each other. Again, this wind, the dryness. No one wants to see their house to go up in flames and that’s one of the bigger things that people are even looking at,” Morley said.
Loud explosions from fireworks also affect children with autism, animals and veterans with PTSD. Morely says it’s also about being a good neighbor.
So how do you enforce this?
Morley says the police department will respond to complaints or if officers see displays. He says in the past, in most cases, things were solved with a warning and a shutdown of the display. Still, he says officers can confiscate or even cite someone who just won’t stop.
“On the Fourth of July, we can easily get 130 calls for that day. We go back and try to work with our residents and we’re not here to punish our residents. We go there and say stop and most of time they usually stop,” Morley said.
Morley says Eastlake residents will get to see three professional displays at Classic Park on July 1 and 3 by the Lake County Captains Minor League Baseball team.
Then, on the 4th, the cities of Eastlake, Willowick and Wickliffe will hold a joint fireworks display for all three communities.
If you aren’t sure if you’re community is allowing personal fireworks displays, you should call your city hall to make sure.