3News Investigates: New Year’s Eve celebrations may look different in your area

House Bill 172 went into effect in July, allowing the average Ohioan to shoot fireworks on holidays.

CLEVELAND. The sky on New Year’s Eve will shine differently than in years past.

Ohioans hold the key to how brightly the sky will light up after a new state law allowing fireworks went into effect this year.

At American Fireworks in Hudson, the fireworks season lasts all year round. “This is definitely our second biggest holiday,” said hotel owner John Sorgi.

This year, business will flare up even more thanks to House Bill 172.

The law was signed into law last November and first went into effect in July, allowing the average Ohioan to set off fireworks on holidays.

“So, I mean, this is definitely something we felt we needed because people were already shooting,” Sorgi said.

Sorgi told 3News Investigates that the new law was good for businesses on Independence Day, bringing in an estimated 25 percent of new customers.

“We think it’s definitely like we’ve already seen a bigger push this month than we’ve seen in the last couple of years,” Sorgi said. “And then, I think, we will see a much bigger leap in this [New Year’s] for sure.”

Reports show that the fireworks industry is definitely profitable.

Gross retail sales of all 1.4g consumer fireworks to be reported for the first time this year totaled $53,505,861 between May and September, according to the Ohio Fire Chief.

The law states that Ohio residents can only set off fireworks on certain holidays:

  • January 1st
  • Chinese New Year
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Last Monday in May and the Saturday and Sunday immediately before that day
  • June 16
  • Third, fourth and fifth days of July
  • First Friday, Saturday and Sunday before and after Independence Day
  • Labor Day
  • Saturday and Sunday before Labor Day
  • Diwali
  • New year’s night

In addition, on these days, fireworks can only be fired from 16:00 to 23:00, unless otherwise specified by the municipality.

Cities and towns in northeast Ohio also have the option to waive the law, which many in northeast Ohio have.

3News examines the leaders of two cities: one agreed, the other refused.

The mayor of densely populated suburban Westlake Dennis Clough said the decision to opt out came down to one thing.

“For us, it’s more about safety,” Clough said. “Our fire department obviously has to respond to any call if there is a firework malfunction. We don’t want to worry about this in every home in Westlake. I don’t know of any fire department that would support that.”

But about an hour south, in Jackson Township, perception is one hundred and eighty.
“We’ve taken a different path, which we’re going to allow, but we’re going to educate people,” said Tim Burchik, the village’s fire chief.

Berchik said the progressive approach should ease the tedious hunt for enforcement.

“If we weren’t doing this, and people were going to do it, we would be chasing them between our fire department and our law enforcement, that’s all we would be doing,” he said.

Even with the new law, you can still be quoted.

The Westlake and Jackson Township Fire Department told 3News that no one was charged with unlawful firing of a firearm this year.

“If people [pop them], it’s better that everyone is on the same wavelength,” Sorgi said. “And to have the fire department and local municipalities now on the same page, which is very important.”

To read all Ohio Fire Code rules related to this law, click here.

Here are the cities in Northeast Ohio where you can opt out and ban fireworks:

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