Fireworks sales expected to surge during pandemic
Depending on where you live, you may be hearing more fireworks in your neighborhood this summer than usual.
With many public fireworks displays canceled due to the pandemic, some people are planning to shoot off their own fireworks.
However, officials have some warnings if you choose to go that route.
"We can't stop someone from having a firework show,” explained Assistant State Fire Marshal, Richard McCarthy.
Many large fireworks displays are on hold this summer.
McCarthy believes communities have canceled their displays due to the governor's executive order that bans the gathering of more than 50 people.
While his office is seeing a considerable drop in private permits, there's still an interest. And rules still need to be followed.
"If were to have a show at my house I would be the sponsor and I would be responsible for making sure that social distancing happened and all the executive orders were followed."
Under Maine law, a person must be 21 to purchase fireworks.
You also need to check with your local municipality to make sure displays are allowed.
And, a person must use the fireworks on their own property or get the owner's okay.
"If you're at a state park or a public beach, anywhere that's not yours, you need permission from the owner,” McCarthy explained.
Company owners across the state are urging safety, especially for first-time users.
"If you can't do it safely, you should not be messing with them,” said Steve Marson of Pyro City Maine and Central Maine Pyrotechnics.
He says his businesses like many others are feeling the effects of the pandemic.
Marson says he had 110 shows planned for the Fourth of July weekend across New England. Now, he has only 10.
"We've lost $1 million worth of display business this year. That's huge in our company,” said Marson.
Marson says the increase in consumer sales is encouraging, but it's not enough.
"We have debt to banks,” Marson explained. “We have loans we have to pay and we depend on that display money. Now we don't have it."
Experts agree safety is top priority when it comes to fireworks displays.
"Your children are watching you. Your neighbors are watching you. Be responsible. Set them up in an area that is away from people so they're not going to do anything to cause any damages or any injury,” said Marson.
"We just ask that they do it safely. Do it within the law and we just want to have everyone be safe. That's our ultimate goal. Each year we do have injuries. We just don't want those,” said McCarthy.
A number of towns in Maine are continuing their tradition of offering fireworks displays on the 4th of July - Greenville, Jackman, and Millinocket just to name a few.