Independence OKs bottle rockets, remaining bans on other fireworks still strictly enforced

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- It’s hard to believe, but we're just more than a week away from the Fourth of July. Fireworks stands are now opening across the metro.  This year in the city of Independence, there are some changes for how you can celebrate.

From classic fountains and sparklers to artillery shells, there's plenty to choose from on the rows of a local fireworks stand to light up your Fourth of July. A shop outside the Price Chopper on Sterling Avenue in Independence also adds spark to a good cause.

“It`s essential for us just to exist as a ministry. It helps us send kids to camp and use transportation, and feed snacks,” said Tom Asher with Urban Life Ministries of Kansas City.

In only a week and a half's time, the non-profit’s fireworks tent raises enough money to support the ministry for an entire year. And this summer, it's excited bottle rockets are now added to the inventory.

“We have people every year come and look for bottle rockets and other types of product and stuff we didn't sell. This year we can actually sell them and hopefully that means more money for us that we can use to do things for the kids,” Asher said.

The city of Independence is now stopping its ban on bottle rockets. But it's cracking down on certain other fireworks still outlawed.

“We`ve been a little more aggressive in sticking to what`s banned in the city, such as sparkler bombs and the paper lanterns and any fireworks either combined or altered in any way,” said Michael Ditamore, Independence Fire Department Battalion Chief.

In Independence, fireworks can only be shot off July 3rd, 4th and 5th during specific hours each day. Anyone caught breaking the rules can be ticketed and fined.

Fire crews also want to make sure whatever kind of fireworks you buy, you use them correctly and carefully.

“Always read and understand, then follow all the recommendations and/or risks that are labeled on any style firework and use an extended butane lighter or extended punk to light them,” said Ditamore.

Experts also advise you use fireworks in a flat, open area and be sure to keep water nearby.

“We don`t like to be busy on the Fourth of July and a lot of injuries that do happen with fireworks, whether to individuals or to property, can a lot of it be headed off early with just a little common sense,” said Ditamore.

“Have a wonderful 4th and definitely be safe,” Asher said.

Experts also suggest when you shoot off fireworks, you leave at least a hundred feet of space away from any structures and make sure people and pets are a safe distance away too.