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Now legal, fireworks sales go off big in Gainesville
Local shop cashes in just in time for holiday
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George Watson purchases fireworks Friday with his daughter Gracelyn at Xtreme Xplosions in Gainesville. The most popular products being sold at Xtreme Xplosives leading up to the Fourth of July were mortars, shells and repeaters. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Jason Sillay couldn’t keep fireworks on the shelves Saturday.

His “wild guesstimate” for the number of people who stopped by to buy fireworks in the last 24 hours: more than 5,000.

As of Wednesday, fireworks were permitted to be sold from brick-and-mortar stores and some temporary locations in Georgia so long as they complied with code requirements and had a permit from the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner.

Sillay opened Xtreme Xplosives Fireworks on Riverside Drive across from City Park in Gainesville, stocking the shelves ahead of the law change.

“This is something we’ve planned on for five years,” Sillay said. “And now, we’re selling fireworks like crazy. They’re tough to keep around. Fireworks are like chocolate cake, you know?”

The most popular products being sold at Xtreme Xplosives Fireworks leading up to July 4 were “mortars, shells and repeaters.”

And, the single most popular, hands down: World Class Excaliburs.

“They’re 24 single-shot shells, and they’re the ones with the beautiful bursts in the sky that are extremely loud.”

Added Sillay: “Best bang for your buck on those.”

Bigger brands such as Jake’s Fireworks opened five stores in Georgia — including one in Buford on Gainesville Highway — following the implementation of House Bill 110.

Sparklers and other small devices that did not fly high into the air were allowed before the new law.

Sillay operated four tents last year while keeping an eye toward the Atlanta statehouse about new regulations.

“We’re glad to be here in Gainesville,” Sillay said. “We’re not a fly-by-night either. We’re here year-round.”

Gainesville Fire Department spokesman Keith Smith said in a news release that fireworks cannot be lit within 100 yards of a gas station or “a facility that refines, processes or blends gasoline.”

Hall County Fire Marshal Scott Cagle issued a warning to citizens to use common sense and wear safety glasses. He added that users should keep water or a fire extinguisher on hand and keep spectators at a safe distance.

Reporter Nick Watson contributed to this report.

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