Don't get arrested for back yard fireworks

6:06 PM, Jul 4, 2012   |    comments
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NORTH ROYALTON -- Fireworks are illegal in the hands of unlicensed amatuers, It's a crime, though most police departments overlook it.

Don't expect such leniency this year.

Steven Grasser is the first in anyone's recent memory to be arrested and jailed for shooting off fireworks in his own back yard.

Grasser had to pay $525 for bail after spending the night in North Royalton's jail and faces up to six months behind bars and a $1,000 fine.

The fireworks ignited a dry creek bed running through his back yard. The fire department closed West 130th Street for a half hour to put it out.

"I made a mistake. It was a mistake shooting off fireworks during the dry season it was silly. The fines and the amount of attention this has got, it's been way out of control though," Grasser said.

Fireworks are illegal statewide and have been for over a decade. Still it's only this year that North Royalton and other communities are cracking down on violators.

"They don't know what they are buying. They don't know where they come from. They're having a party or a picnic. There is usually alcohol involved. It just becomes a recipe for disaster, " Sgt. Dave Centner.

North Royalton is doubling its patrols. There will be 15 units on the road this Fourth of July so be advised.

The long stretch of extreme heat and dry conditions have many people watching the skies for fireworks that could ignite homes and or yards.

Despite warnings, fireworks are flying off retailer shelves at their regular rate.


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