Tip led West Chester police to illegal fireworks cache

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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This video goes with WEB OHJN 070116 fireworks

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

An investigation is continuing after several law enforcement agencies seized “an extremely large cache” of illegal fireworks from a West Chester Twp. business Thursday night.

A tip about sales of fireworks “not appropriate to sell to an average person” led police to serve a search warrant at Station Road Farm, 6749 Station Road.

“It was like walking into a fireworks store,” West Chester Police Lt. David Tivin told this news outlet. “These things weren’t delivered two days ago.”

Station Road Farm has long been a landscaping and farmers market, according to Tivin. The business also sells pumpkins in the fall and Christmas trees in the winter.

There have been no previous incidents at the business, according to Tivin, who added there was no advertising about fireworks for sale at the site.

“This was not a haphazard pile of stuff that someone put in a closet,” Tivin said. “This was on display and it was for sale … Unless you were licensed to do this, you had no business playing around with it. There were were no sparklers in there.”

Officers stuffed two, 15- to 20-foot trailers with as much as $300,000 worth of seized fireworks, which were illegal to possess or sell in Ohio, according to Tivin.

“It all had to be repackaged up, categorized, inventoried and transported to a different location,” he said. “We worked well into the morning.”

The sellers could face felony charges, but as of Friday afternoon, no charges had been filed, according to Tivin.

“There will be people out there who’ll think we spoiled some people’s Fourth of July,” he said. “But I like to think in terms that we saved some fingers, some hands, some eyesight, a house from burning down, a woods catching fire. That’s why we acted as quickly as we did. We viewed it as a public safety issue.”

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives as well as the Butler County Sheriff’s bomb squad and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are assisting West Chester in the investigation.