Number of sites considered for fireworks sales drastically outpaces permits issued

The newest fireworks shop to open -- TNT Fireworks -- begins selling in the parking lot of Walmart on the city's southwest side.

Nearly all wishing to sell fireworks in the state have managed to obtain the proper licensing, yet not all locations considered have ultimately come to fruition.

More than 1,200 sites had been considered as of June 30, but only 656 permits had been issued, meaning the overall approval rating of permits compared to sites at just above 52 percent.

Fire Inspector Dan Wood said the number of permits sought is roughly 700, and so far, all those who have been inspected have met the criteria to begin selling.

However, Wood added there aren't enough hours in the day to meet all inspection requests as soon as those seeking to sell would like.

Locally, the Cedar Rapids Fire Marshal has approved a total of 27 sites, including most recently TNT Fireworks located in the Walmart parking lot on Edgewood Road SW.

Robert Lane, who mans the pop-up shop, said he plans to keep the tent running until July 4 or 5, and expects to bring in between $30,000 and $40,000 in sales over the maximum period of six days.

Lane said he was certain the fire marshal would be pleased with his setup, as he put a great deal of time and effort into ensuring the tent would meet state safety standards.

While many are following the proper channels to attain permits to sell, some are setting up shop without licensing.

According to Public Safety Communications Coordinator Greg Buelow, Nebraska-based fireworks company Bellino Fireworks "opened without getting a permit through the City and fire inspection by Cedar Rapids Fire."

The tent, located in a parking lot off Edgewood Road near Starbucks, Aspen, and the old Gander Mountain, was shut down, but those in charge are looking to move to the Marion Menards, per Buelow.

Lane said getting the permit was "a struggle" that resulted in a number of headaches, but added the measures in place from the city and state ensure safe sales.

He said regardless of the law, he's always shot fireworks off as he loves them.

He encourages residents to be considerate of their neighbors and exercise caution when using consumer fireworks.

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