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Fireworks shortage raises concern for businesses and Detroit police as shoppers prepare for the 4th of July

Posted at 5:20 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-30 17:33:33-04

DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (WXYZ) — Unlike what we are seeing across the country, the shelves at Exotic Firework in Dearborn Heights are stocked.

“We started preparing right after July 4th last year. And we started making our phone calls to China and different places to make sure we have our fireworks,” said Patrick Mifsud.

Most of Mifstud’s shipment is in but like many other businesses working through the pandemic, there is an extended wait time.

“We have a whole shipment in California that we didn’t get yet because it’s stuck at the port,” he adds.

He says he’s been waiting for months. “It’s a really weird situation that people are not getting their stuff and there is a panic across the United States,” Mifsud adds.

A shortage panic for businesses and the police department. “We are concerned that we are going to see more homemade and improvised devices being sold to consumers,” said Lt. Matt Taylor.

Lt. Taylor is head of the department's bomb squad. He tells 7 Action News that they recently caught someone selling commercial fireworks from their home.

“There is no permit you can get that allows you to sell from a residence or vehicle. If you see someone selling out of the trunk or garage you know you are dealing with illegal operation,” he adds.

But how can you tell if you're buying illegal fireworks? “If you see something that is unmarked appears to be homemade and in poor condition just leave it alone,” he adds.

He says to be mindful of blank packaging and colorful packaging that may look good but doesn’t have details about where the product was manufactured.

“We frequently find that items like this that have 100 times the legal limit of explosive material,” Lt. Taylor adds.

The safest thing he says a shopper can do is ask the business for their permits.

“They are required by law to display their permit and show it to you if you ask,” he adds.

Mifsud says the recent rain is putting a damper on sales but he’s looking forward to a busy next couple of days.