City lays down rules for another summer fireworks season

‘If you don’t follow the rules, you do so at your own risk’

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 7, 2021

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STERLING HEIGHTS — When it comes to launching consumer fireworks, following state and local regulations may make the difference between an event that sizzles and one that fizzles, according to Sterling Heights officials.

City Manager Mark Vanderpool said during a May 18 Sterling Heights City Council meeting that Sterling Heights has imposed a restriction, via ordinance, that bans launching consumer fireworks — the kind that go up into the air — during most days of the year. However, the state prevents Sterling Heights from banning consumer fireworks usage during certain times of the year.

This year, the days when the fireworks are legal are May 29-30, June 29-July 4, Sept. 4-5, and Dec. 31. Typical firework hours are 11 a.m.-11:45 p.m., except for New Year’s Eve, during which fireworks may go off past midnight, until 1 a.m. Jan. 1, 2022.

“Please note that the discharge of fireworks is no longer allowed on the Labor Day or Memorial Day holiday,” a city memo states.

Consumer fireworks only may only be discharged on private property, with the property owner’s consent, and adults viewing the show must stand at least 25 feet back, while minors must stay at least 50 feet away.

Police said they intend on enforcing the city’s firework regulations, as well as other laws involving noise, nuisances, litter or disturbing the peace. Vanderpool said disturbing the peace could be charged upon any person who uses fireworks outside the permitted hours.

“We do the best we can to enforce this,” he said. “Periodically, we confiscate fireworks that are not being used properly. We do issue violations periodically. So, you know, if you don’t follow the rules, you do so at your own risk.”

But for police, catching violators of these rules can be a challenge. After the Memorial Day long weekend, Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski explained that the police heard eight firework complaints over that weekend, but they could only catch one offender.

“By the time we got there, there was no one discharging fireworks against the law or against city policy,” he said. “A lot of times, they fire them off; we show up, and they’re gone. … If they see police lights down their street, they run back into their house or don’t discharge them. It’s very difficult to catch them red-handed.”

In the case where police did find an offender, it was a resident who was reportedly shooting off fireworks after 11 p.m., Dwojakowski said. The resident reportedly said he was done, and when police explained the regulations, he was compliant.

“For a resident that didn’t truly know the rules, we trust that they’re not going to launch the fireworks again. We will give a warning,” Dwojakowski  said. “Now if we’ve been out to your house before, you’ll get a ticket and confiscation of the fireworks, too.”

Learn more about Sterling Heights by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2489.

RELATED: For a list of local fireworks shows, check out our Fireworks Festivities page, sponsored by Joe Pizik Electric, Inc.