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Owner: Fireworks ban could destroy family run business

Posted at 7:25 PM, Jul 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 06:03:45-04
Over the last year, illegal fireworks were the cause of three house fires and a dozen of other blazes across the Treasure Valley.
 
Now that the smoke from Independence Day has cleared, one city leader says it's time to end the sale of illegal fireworks in Idaho, but a business owner says preventing the sale of aerial fireworks would not only destroy his business but wouldn't stop people from getting them.
 
Fireworks are not just one a year for the owner of Rocky Mountain Fur and Fireworks, but a way of life. 
 
"I started selling fireworks when I was 21 years old and I'm 66 now," said Dennis Heck.
 
In their bright yellow building right off of I-84 in Caldwell, you can buy fireworks year round.
 
"It's a family owned business. Every one of my kids has helped and they're still helping run the business," explained Heck.
 
Dennis Heck doesn't try to hide the fact that many of the fireworks he sells are illegal to use in Idaho without a permit. We counted at least ten signs warning customers exactly what they are taking home.
 
But what's illegal to use without a permit, is still legal and easy to buy, prompting Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan to call for a change in the laws regarding illegal fireworks.
 
"It's not just illegal to use, but illegal to buy and to possess," said Doan.
 
But Heck says, a law like that would put him out of business.
 
"If they ban fireworks it would be devastation, not so much for me but for my kids," explained Heck. "They are the next generation that's going to take over."
 
He says that Banning the sale of illegal fireworks in Idaho won't stop the problem.
 
"If they want it bad enough, which most of them do, they're going to get fireworks of any kind that they want somewhere else," said Heck.
 
Heck says the real danger comes from people's careless actions rather than the fireworks themselves. He says the actions of a few are ruining it for all.
 
 
"People, that's what they want to do. They want to shoot off their fireworks to celebrate independence and that's what it's all about," said Heck. 
 
Chief Doan says he already has the support of many other city's fire and police chiefs to ban the sale of illegal fireworks in Idaho.
 
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