KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) - Fire and police chiefs from six Grand Rapids-area municipalities gathered Monday to express their concern about the public's use of newly-legalized consumer-grade fireworks.
The chiefs said their resources were stretched: Fire chiefs said they were responding to more fires caused by fireworks and police said they were getting more noise complaints along with more instances property damage.
Even when fireworks are properly set off, they said, there is a danger of fire because of the dry conditions.
And, they said, people can get hurt. They urged the public to leave using fireworks to professionals.
At the very least, they said, keep fireworks out of the hands of kids.
Kentwood Police Chief Richard Mattice said that the increase in authorities' concern wasn't because of recently-passed local ordinances that make the fireworks illegal all but the 30 days of the year mandated by state law.
"It's an increase because of abuse by people who are irresponsibly using fireworks," said Mattice.
The backdrop for the press conference was St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Kentwood, which was destroyed early Sunday morning by a fire. Authorities said that blaze may have been caused by fireworks, though they are still considering all possible causes.
Firefighters in both Grandville and Portage are working to keep the land on which city fireworks will be set off very wet in an effort to prevent an accidental grass fire.
Deputies in Ottawa County are looking for two young boys after they were allegedly kidnapped by their father.
A plan to build an outlet mall in Byron Township did not move forward as expected Monday, MLive is reporting.
A bill before the House would hold back third-grade students who are not proficient in reading.