Burn ban causes fireworks confusion

Fireworks shops like Crazy Steve’s are feeling the sting of the hot and dry conditions with less people walking through their doors. Store management said confusion over the burn ban and fireworks restrictions has made many of their usual customers hesitant to purchase their products.

While there is a burn ban in place for St. Joseph County, the ban does not include fireworks.

“Normally, we have lines to the doors and double the crew here,” said Rachel Bland, manager at Crazy Steve’s.

But, only a few customers at a time ventured into the store Tuesday.

“It is shocking,” said Amanda Rutherford, one of the owners of Crazy Steve’s. “We are very surprised that we have as much inventory as we do at this time. It is very disappointing.”

Local fire officials and the Indiana State Fire Marshal gathered in South Bend Tuesday morning to address some of the concerns over fireworks restrictions.

“It is easy to be caught up in the moment and in the holiday fun,” said South Bend Fire Chief Stephen Cox. “We want everyone to have fun but do it in safe manner as well.”

Though brown lawns are a common sight throughout the county, Cox said that fireworks are not the biggest fire threat.

“We’ve had no actual fires caused by fireworks in St. Joseph County so far,” Cox said. “The public education that has gone out along with rain storms actually helped.”

But, the decision to not ban fireworks also goes with a plea to the public to use extreme caution when setting anything off.

“Beware of your surroundings, what is above you,” said Jim Greeson, Indiana State Fire Marshal. “Set them off on concrete or asphalt and not near a garage, home or other structures.”

Officials also suggested turning to public displays instead of lighting your own fireworks if you are still hesitant due to the dry conditions.

For a full listing of fireworks restrictions statewide, visit http://www.in.gov/dhs/.

Cox said he wanted to emphasize that open flames and pit burning are not allowed in the county, as part of the burn ban.

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