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COVID-19 Causes Fireworks Complaints to Soar Amid Surging Sales

Cleveland and surrounding suburbs are experiencing a fireworks boom

As Ohio considers changing its laws to legalize citizens setting off fireworks, residents’ complaints for fireworks shot off in Cleveland and its surrounding suburbs this summer have spiked, with some cities getting seven times as many complaints as last year.

The spike — a 461 percent increase in Cleveland alone — coincides with the coronavirus pandemic that has shut off for months other entertainment options and in some cases caused cities to cancel Fourth of July fireworks shows. Complaints in cities across the country shot up in recent weeks, and fireworks trade organizations said consumer fireworks sales are on pace to set an all-time record.

“Some of our members are saying their sales are double or triple what they were at the same time last year,” said American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) Executive Director Julie Heckman. “We’re just beginning to start the peak selling period. It could be a landslide. I’m reluctant to put a figure out there.”

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