Rochester fireworks ban a real dud at Somersworth outlet

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Ban angers fireworks store, but owners say they'll survive. (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - Rochester's recent ruling to ban fireworks except for two days each year left the co-owner of a local fireworks store seething over the city's decision.

"This was three or four council members who've been after this for a very long time, and they finally got it," Hilltop Fireworks of Somersworth co-owner Don Gregoire said today.

The City Council voted earlier this month to limit fireworks to July 3 and 4 from 6 p.m.-midnight, and then only with a permit.

"People celebrate with fireworks all through the year at weddings, anniversaries, birthday parties," said Gregoire, who added that slowly but surely Rochester had ratcheted up its anti-fireworks policy over recent years.

"First it was OK any night, then it was down to three nights a week, then just Saturday nights and now it's basically just the Fourth (of July)," he said.

Gregoire, who lives in Somersworth, complained that because he was from out of town he wasn't allowed to speak in front of the City Council to plea his case. He also claimed there has only been a small amount of people complaining and said not enough of the people who want to use fireworks showed up at the meetings. He also said the number of police and fire call regarding fireworks was overblown and "next to nothing."

"Rochester is a big customer base for me, but we'll survive. There's a lot of people who still want fireworks," he said.

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