The use of consumer fireworks was legalized in Iowa last year, sparking complaints from both citizens and local law enforcement. This year, many cities have set their own rules for firework use, with some prohibiting them completely.
On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks to Jeremiah Terhark, owner of Iowa Fireworks Company; Pat Treeloar, Fire Chief for the city of Waterloo; and Tom Daubs, Public Information Officer for the Marion Police Department, about the upcoming July 4th holiday and the patchwork of fireworks laws across Iowa.
Iowa Fireworks Company saw a huge demand for fireworks in the first year of legalization.
"We did have 32,000 customers coming to our 21 locations last year," Terhawk says.
This year, they've expanded to 43 locations, despite increased restrictions in some places. Terhawk recommends that customers check with the city or county about their local rules before buying fireworks.
These local rules range from complete bans to specific time periods and locations that fireworks can be used.
"The city of Waterloo has banned the use of fireworks," says Treeloar. They saw around 800 firework-related complaints last year.
On the other hand, the city of Marion has taken a less restrictive route.
"They can use them on the 4th of July from noon to 11 p.m., on that day only," says Daubs.