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Fireworks may be legal in Ohio, but not in the city of Toledo

Toledo City Council voted to opt-out of a new state law, House Bill 172, which allows Ohioans to shoot off fireworks on certain holidays.

TOLEDO, Ohio — With the Fourth of July weekend right around the corner, Toledo police are reminding residents that fireworks are off-limits in the city.

"The easy way to think about it is, if it goes boom, it's illegal," Toledo Police Chief George Kral said.

This comes after Toledo City Council voted to opt out of a new state law, House Bill 172, which allows Ohioans to shoot off fireworks on certain holidays.

It's a vote Toledo City Councilwoman Katie Moline said was easy to make.

"I know with Fourth of July especially, fireworks pose such a danger to our community. Not just for our first responders, but for those that suffer from PTSD, our cherished pets in our families, and for all the citizens," Moline said.

City officials said Wednesday it all comes down to keeping people safe.

"What goes up, it's got to come down and where it comes down it could be fatal or it could be a fire," councilwoman Cerssandra McPherson said.

Toledo Fire Chief Allison Armstrong said there have been a handful of instances that prove the light shows should be left to the professionals.

"Last year, that U-Haul truck exploded, thank god nobody was killed, that could have been a very, very different outcome," Armstrong said. "We had the Hunter's Ridge fire in 2008 that destroyed nine apartment buildings and left over 100 people homeless. These are significant incidents that are caused by fireworks."

The Fourth of July weekend is a busy weekend for both Toledo police and city firefighters, but they said they're ready.

"That's part of our job. We're bringing in 58 extra officers on overtime for the fireworks display and we'll have on-duty officers that we'll hopefully be able to dispatch out to those calls," Kral said.

WTOL 11 talked with representatives of Sylvania and Perrysburg. Both say they're allowing private displays once the law goes into effect July 1, and they haven't heard of any others communities opting out.

Legal fireworks mean big business for places like Phantom Fireworks in Holland. Manager Brodie Youtzy expects to see plenty of customers from the Glass City leading up to Independence Day.

"Toledo residents can still purchase fireworks, they would just have to shoot them off, not within Toledo. They have to go somewhere else to shoot them off," Youtzy said.

Kral urges residents to call 911 if they see someone with illegal fireworks.


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