Blue Springs mayor sends postcards to residents with safety reminder about fireworks

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo, -- It's a sign of the season.

Roadside stands selling fireworks will soon begin popping up in your neighborhood, and people in one metro city are being reminded about safety by way of their mailbox.

The Fourth of July isn't far off. The mayor of Blue Springs realizes that.

Carson Ross, who is in his third-term as mayor, continues his city’s practice of sending out postcards, reminding residents of the city's ordinances regarding fireworks. The multi-colored, glossy postcard was mailed to all Blue Springs residents last week.

"Be a good neighbor and celebrate smart," Ross told FOX4 on Thursday.

The postcard details the legal dates and hours for shooting off fireworks, as well as reminding the city's people that rockets and flying luminaries are against the law, primarily because they're a fire hazard.

"After midnight on July Fourth, you shouldn't hear anybody shooting off fireworks," Ross said.

The city's postcard centers on safety, and consideration for others, in addition to local laws -- factors that are often pushed aside by some fireworks users, even in other communities where fireworks are completely illegal.

On July 1st, 17 blue and white tents selling legal fireworks will open around Blue Springs, allowing local nonprofit groups and churches to raise money by selling basic fireworks. They will not include bottle rockets and Roman candles, which are forbidden. The first of those tents was spotted by a FOX4 News crew on Thursday in a Price Chopper parking lot off 7 Highway.

"Are there some illegal ones going off in Blue Springs, and I hear them? Absolutely, but they didn't buy them in Blue Springs. They probably went out there on 50 Highway," Ross said.

Travel about a half-mile to the east, and you'll find the retail tent operated by Big Matt's Fireworks. It sits equidistant between Blue Springs and Independence on Highway 40 in land marked as Unincorporated Jackson County, where the law allows the sale of bottle rockets.

On Friday morning, the big red and white tent was already attracting customers after only an hour after opening for the season.

"We get hit hardest the night of the third and the day of the fourth," said Matt Sprouse, the store's owner.

Sprouse, who's been selling fireworks for two decades, has operated the tent operation for over 10 years. On Friday, Sprouse and his staff un-boxed bottle rockets and other items they'll legally sell, while talking with customers about being safe and staying within the law.

"We tell them to verify with their city ordinance what is allowed to be shot and what times they're allowed to be shot," Sprouse said Friday.

He said a large portion of his customers drive in from Blue Springs, and he agrees with Ross' postcard campaign because some fireworks users are careless.

Sprouse said he takes safety a step further. He also reminds his customers that alcohol and flammable goods don’t mix. He and Ross say common sense will treat you right.

"The reason is they don't want to have fires. That's what it boils down to. We've had a little rain, but going into the fourth, it's going to be hot and dry. If you just follow the guidelines, it will be a safe experience for everybody," Sprouse said.

Ross pointed out the city has its own Fourth of July celebration at Blue Springs High School, where there's a live country music concert, as well as a big fireworks display once the sun goes down.