OLD TOWN, Maine — If all goes according to plan, access to newly legalized fireworks should be just a short trip away for Bangor-area residents, according to the vice president of a company that hopes to set up shop on Stillwater Avenue.
Short Fuse Fireworks LLC Vice President William Sewall of Veazie said Friday that he should be ready to start selling fireworks sometime in April or May after completing renovations to the building and wrapping up the permitting and inspection process.
The site at 983 Stillwater Ave., which formerly was home to Pizza Dome, is well suited for a fireworks business because it meets most of the major regulations and requirements, according to Old Town Code Enforcement Officer David Russell.
For example, in order for a business to sell fireworks, the retail and storage space needs to be a certain distance away from surrounding structures and can’t have a basement or second floor. The former Pizza Dome site meets those requirements.
Russell said Sewall, who is the company’s vice president, and Douglas Hummel, the president, had completed about 95 percent of the permitting requirements.
The first fireworks store in the state, Pyro City Fireworks, opened in Manchester two months after fireworks became legal in Maine. The owner of that store, Steve Marson, said he also plans to open shops in Edgecomb, Winslow and Aroostook County.
The 2,700-square-foot building needed a few upgrades, including an expanded sprinkler system and an additional exit, according to Russell.
After that, Sewall and Hummel will seek state approval. Russell said he didn’t expect any issues because the owners and engineering firm have been working closely with the state fire marshal’s office.
Sewall said customers will have a wide variety of pyrotechnics to choose from, but “we can’t have any rockets, bottle rockets or missiles.”
State law doesn’t allow for the sale of fireworks that are launched from a stick or that have fins because there’s a risk they might tip over and launch along the ground.
“We have to hand out safety pamphlets with every purchase,” Sewall said. “We just want people to use them safely and responsibility.”
At least 24 cities and towns in Maine have prohibited or placed restrictions on the sale and-or use of fireworks, including Bangor, Brunswick, Ellsworth, Orono, Portland, South Portland, Rockland and Holden.
Short Fuse Fireworks’ owners initially wanted to find a site in Bangor or Brewer, but the Bangor City Council banned the sale and use of fireworks and Sewall said he couldn’t find a suitable building in Brewer.
He said he’s thrilled with the site they found on “one of the highest-traffic areas in the greater Bangor area.”
Sewall said he’s not closely related to the Sewalls behind James W. Sewall Co. in Old Town and that his family has roots in northern Maine.
Short Fuse Fireworks LLC is not affiliated with Short Fuse Fireworks Inc., a business based in New Brunswick, Canada, owned by Cornelius Tym.
Sewall said Friday that he wasn’t aware that his company shared its name with another, but that he planned on meeting with his lawyer to be sure the Short Fuse name wouldn’t lead to any legal conflict.
BDN reporter Alex Barber contributed to this report.