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Lighting the fuse: With fireworks canceled, shows at home expected to increase

Mike Genet
Fireworks sales at tents run by non-profit organizations, such as this one in Blue Springs from 2017, could start Tuesday in Independence and Lee's Summit. Some firefighters believe canceled municipal shows this year could lead to more home use, and possible more injuries or property damage.

Though many metro area cities canceled fireworks displays for this Fourth of July, citizens in some cities are still allowed to purchase and set off their own consumer-grade fireworks as in years past.

Because of those canceled shows, some firefighters anticipate more people setting off fireworks at home this year, which could lead to more injuries.

Tuesday marked the first day non-profit groups could sell consumer-grade fireworks sales in Independence and Lee’s Summit, and a few spots in unincorporated eastern Jackson County have been allowed to sell since May 21. Sales in Grain Valley and Blue Springs can start Saturday and July 1, respectively.

“I do think we will see an uptick in home use; that’s one of our concerns,” said Derrick Llewellyn, an investigator for the Central Jackson County Fire Protection District.

Llewellyn said the agency had a house fire caused by fireworks last year but had few injuries to deal with.

“Injuries have been fairly low, but when we do see them they’re pretty serious,” he said.

The main causes of injuries and fires, he said – misuse. That ranges from standing too close to fireworks, holding a sparkler or something similar too long, customizing launch points or using illegal fireworks like aerial luminaries (or night parachutes, as Llewellyn called them).

Also, the weather can be a factor. If recent dry conditions persist through July 4, Llewellyn said, that can heighten fire risks. Over the past few years the area received some rain the day before or on July 4, mitigating that risk.

The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission says in 2018 fireworks were involved in 9,100 injuries severe enough to send someone to the hospital, as well as at least five deaths (compared to more than 12,000 injuries and at least eight deaths in 2017). About one-sixth of those injuries required admission to the hospital, and 36 percent involved children 15 and younger. Half of the injuries were to people 20 and younger.

Municipal rules

Citizens in unincorporated Jackson County are not allowed to discharge fireworks.

Independence allows bottle rockets, though sparkler bombs, sky lanterns (aerial luminaries) and altered or combined fireworks remain prohibited. Fireworks can be set off in Independence 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 3 and July 5 and 10 a.m. to midnight July 4. The city could also have a city display later in July, though no plans have been finalized.

In Blue Springs, fireworks can be discharged 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 1-3 and 10 a.m. to midnight July 4. Bottle rockets and sky lanterns are not allowed.

In Grain Valley, sales can start Saturday, and fireworks can be discharged 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. July 2-4.

In Lee's Summit, fireworks can be discharged between 10 a.m. and midnight on July 4 and between 10 a.m. and 11 p.m. July 3 and July 5. Before planning to shoot fireworks within the city limits, a fireworks use permit must be obtained each year. Free permits are available from any licensed vendor throughout the city, online at or at City Hall during regular business hours. For questions about fireworks, call the Lee’s Summit Fire Department at 816-969-1300, or visit

Safety first

Other basic safety reminders, courtesy of the National Fire Protection Association:

• Only ignite fireworks outdoors, on a smooth, flat surface (or according to instructions) and away from structures and flammable materials.

• Keep a garden hose or water source nearby when setting off fireworks.

• Be sure others are out of range of fireworks, and light just one at a time.

• Do not attempt to re-ignite malfunctioning fireworks.

• With sparklers, do not throw them, handle or light more than one at a time, hand a lighted sparkler to someone or stand close to someone with a lighted sparkler. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals. Drop spent sparklers in a bucket of water.

Cities generally make it explicitly illegal to set off or throw fireworks in a way to injure others.

Independence has several specific rules: Don’t set off fireworks in a way that they land on someone else’s property. Don’t set them off within 600 feet of a church, school or hospital, within 100 feet of wherever fireworks are stored or within 300 feet of where ignitable liquids or gases are stored, or where there’s a gas pump or gas station. It’s illegal to set off fireworks in a vehicle, throw them from a vehicle, throw them at a vehicle or throw them under a vehicle.

Plenty of choices

While many tents are not yet open for business, locations for fireworks sales include:


• 13500 E. U.S. 40 (Hillcrest Ministries).

• 16701 E. U.S. 40 (American Legion Post 21).

• 12401 E. U.S. 40 (Truman Habitat for Humanity).

• 4545 S. Noland Road (Messiah Lutheran Church).

• 4201 S. Noland Road (Child Abuse Prevention Association).

• 3507 S. Noland Road (Pop Warner Football).

• 3848 S. Noland Road (Mill Creek Elementary PTA).

• 1420 S. Noland Road (Boy Scout Troop 173).

• 16200 E. U.S. 24 (New Hope Baptist Church).

• 17309 E. U.S. 24 (Center Place Restoration Church).

• 1206 W. U.S. 24 (24 Group Against Childhood Hunger).

• 2411 S. Missouri 291 (Gospel Tract Society)

• 2337 S. Missouri 291 (New Covenant Ministries).

• 3945 S. Bolger Drive (St. Mark's United Methodist Church).

• 18801 E. 39th St. (Englewood Assembly of God).

• 2301 S. Sterling Ave. (Urban Life Ministries).

Blue Springs (starting July 1):

• 1100 S. Missouri 7, Orschlen’s (Blue Springs Assembly).

• 3005 S.W. Missouri 7 (Blue Springs Parents Club).

• 1300 N. Missouri 7 (Dragons Booster Club).

• 2115 S. Missouri 7 (VFW Post 6603).

• 905 N.W. Missouri 7, former Winstead’s (Guardians).

• 1712 S.W. U.S. 40 (VFW Post 30).

• 1305 N. Missouri 7, Price Chopper (Sunset Optimist Club).

• 1901 N. Missouri 7 (Plaza Heights Christian Academy).

• 600 S.W. Missouri 7 (Blue Springs South wrestling).

• 603 S.W. U.S. 40 (Lighthouse Church).

• 1515 N.W. Woods Chapel Road (Committee for Youth Development).

• 1215 N. Missouri 7 (Pointe of Hope Lutheran Church).

• 499 S.W. Missouri 7 (Odd Fellows Lodge 497).

• 301 S.E. Route AA (Cornerstone Church of Blue Springs).

• 1800 S.W. Leonard St., (Christian Business Men’s Association).

• 1101 S. Missouri 7, Price Chopper (Jaguar Pride Band Boosters).

• 625 Missouri 7 (Friends of the Golden Regiment).

• 1131 S.W. South Outer Road (Blue Springs Citizens Police Academy Alumni).

Grain Valley (starting Saturday)

• 1191 N.E. McQuerry Road, Price Chopper (Grain Valley band parents)

• 201 S.W. Eagles Parkway, former Grain Valley Market (Boy Scouts)

Jackson County

• 5055 U.S. 40, Blue Springs (New Covenant Ministries)

There are also a handful of whole and retail vendors in unincorporated Blue Summit or off Truman Road in that area, on U.S. 50 just east of Lee’s Summit and at U.S. 24 and Salem Drive just outside of Independence.