Investigators find stockpile of 'Riverfest-grade' fireworks in West Chester barn

Posted at 5:58 PM, Jul 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-01 17:58:03-04

WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Investigators have discovered a huge cache of illegal and unregulated fireworks in West Chester Thursday night, police said.

Lt. David Tivin, with the West Chester Police Department, said investigators received a tip that there was a stockpile of professional-grade fireworks in a barn at Station Road Farm. The Ohio Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Explosives and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad recovered the fireworks.

“These are some of the same ordinances that they would see at Riverfest,” Tivin said, “things that people don’t have any business launching out of their yard because they don’t understand the true danger of the explosive nature of some of these things.”

The Rozzi family — famous for their elaborate fireworks displays, including Cincinnati’s own Riverfest Labor Day celebration and Monday’s Red White and Blue Ash Fourth of July event — owns a retail shop in Loveland, where they sell consumer-grade fireworks. Nancy Rozzi said such stockpiles damage her business and her industry.

“It’s a black mark on our industry,” she said. “What we try to do and what our association we belong to, a nationwide organization, we try to educate people as to legitimate and illegitimate fireworks.”

Businesses like Rozzi Incorporated are heavily regulated by the ATFE, which stipulates, for example, how close non-consumer fireworks can be stored near homes.

“We have to keep very strict records as to what we buy, what we sell — even what we move around in our own plant. So, if we move fireworks from one magazine to another, we have to keep records of that, as well,” she said.

Station Road Farm declined reporters’ requests for comment Friday, but police said it was their belief that the business was selling the fireworks illegally out of the barn.

Police did not immediately press charges as they began their investigation.