Butler County fireworks complaints surge as Fourth of July plans change

The coronavirus pandemic has led to the cancellation of several traditional fireworks shows throughout the region.

Since people are unable to see large-scale fireworks shows in the communities, they’re purchasing more fireworks from local retail stores, setting them off illegally in backyard displays before the Fourth of July and creating more complaints from residents to police departments.

The Butler County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center received 110 complaints last week from residents upset by fireworks being shot by their neighbors, 75 more calls than the previous week.

In Middletown, police received 40 complaints about illegal fireworks from June 1 through July 1, 33 more than the same time period last year, according to the records department.

Joe Rozzi, from Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks, said retail sales are a small part of his business, but they’re seeing “significantly higher” sales at their store in Lockland. He estimated sales, spurred by increased activity this week, could double previous years.

Several southern Indiana retailers have reported an increase in fireworks sales this year as Fourth of July approaches. Mike Kimzey, manager of Pyro City in Clarksville, Ind., said the sales at the fireworks shop have increased by 30 to 40 percent compared to last year. He said people also are spending more on fireworks than previous years.

Rozzi said fireworks are legal to buy, but illegal for the general public to use in Ohio, aside from sparklers and other novelty fireworks that don’t leave the ground.

A proposed state law would change that, but currently, the penalty for using consumer fireworks — such as bottle rockets and Roman candles — in Ohio is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Possession of commercial-grade fireworks is also a first-degree misdemeanor, which can result in up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. Exhibition of commercial-grade fireworks without a license is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 18 months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones sent out a media release saying he hopes the community celebrates the Fourth of July holiday safely if their plans include setting off fireworks.

There are approximately 180 fireworks-related visits to the emergency room each July, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad. Jones said his office responded to “a significant” firework related injury last month.

The 2020 Annual Fireworks Report from the Consumer Product Safety Commission states fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,000 injuries in the 2019 calendar year. There were at least 12 deaths related to fireworks, according to the report.


Friday, July 3

Blessings Over Our Middletown (BOOM), 9:30 p.m., pyrotechnics show featuring Team Fastrax skydivers, Berachah Church, 1900 Johns Road.

Fairfield Red, White & Kaboom fireworks show, 10 p.m., Harbin Park.

Saturday, July 4

Hamilton's fireworks: 10 p.m. Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park.


  • Never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Never try to pick up or re-light fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Douse fireworks with water after they've completely burned before discarding them
  • in the trash.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying them or using them.

SOURCE: Butler County Sheriff’s Office

About the Author