'Been hearing it for weeks:' With fireworks business booming, officials warn they're illegal in many cities

MILWAUKEE -- With many Fourth of July celebrations canceled due to COVID-19, business is booming at fireworks stores in the Milwaukee area -- with officials warning setting them off could cost you.

Fireworks are illegal in most cities, but that hasn't stopped them from being set off well in advance of July 4.

"I've been hearing it for weeks, and pretty much incessantly through the night," said Dan Tyk with North Shore Fire/Rescue.

Milwaukee is one city where fireworks are illegal.

Alderman Michael Murphy

"Pretty much all fireworks are really not permitted in the City of Milwaukee," said Alderman Michael Murphy. "You know, we're a highly dense environment with a lot of older homes."

Murphy warned that anyone in violation of the city ordinance could face a fine of up to $1,000. With professional fireworks displays canceled, he asked that people find different ways to celebrate.

"Can cause a great deal or number of injuries," said Murphy. "We have the Milwaukee Health Department reporting injuries. We know Children's Hospital, we have citizens coming in with severe burns."

Dan Tyk

Tyk agreed that amateurs should not be setting off fireworks, but if you do choose to put together a display in a location where it's legal -- he asked that you please be respectful to neighbors.

"Make sure you have the proper equipment so you have some means to extinguish the fireworks should something go awry, and that you're wearing tight-fitting clothing," said Tyk.

He said the safest way to celebrate Independence Day might be without sparks in 2020.

"This may be the year we have to go without fireworks, and I think everybody can say we'll be back bigger and better in 2021," said Tyk.

In some cities, like West Bend, the Fourth of July fireworks display is on -- so it's important to check the schedule and rules depending on where you live.