Skubick: State Fire Marshal fiddles while lawmakers burn over fireworks law

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – A decision by the state fire marshal not to take a stance on repealing Michigan’s fireworks law is drawing some bi-partisan fire of its own.

It’s this year’s post-4th of July battle over the sale of explosives in our state.

Meet the state’s new fire marshal, Kevin Sehlmeyer, who worked for 30 years in the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

Governor Rick Snyder picked the new fire marshal who has been on the job for ten weeks.

Since 2011 when the legislature legalized the sale of fireworks, some local officials have wanted to change it and some have called for the outright repeal.

So does that new fire marshal favor repeal?

Turns out he refuses to take a stance saying, “I’m not involved. I’m not advocating for change. That is up to the politicians.”

Former Lansing fire chief Tom Cochran turned state Democratic lawmaker is surprised by the fire marshal’s hands off position.

“To me that’s an answer that a politician would give, it’s a non-answer. I would like to see him step and show some leadership and take a stance that he either supports fireworks, or that he doesn’t support fireworks.”

Republican Rep. Peter Lucido is more blunt about the fire marshal’s non-stance, “What the hell is he doing. Absolutely he should take a stance. It’s what his charge is.”

Last year the then fire marshal said she was going to study the law and make recommendations to the governor.

But that never happened because she left the job several months ago with no explanation from the administration.

Selling fireworks is big business with the state raking in millions of dollars and despite the fact that 13 bills have been introduced in the Michigan House to alter or repeal it, none of the bills have had a hearing and for the 7th year in a row the fireworks law remains on the books while the griping continues.

Rep. Cochran concludes “The average citizen should not be out here lighting off these fireworks, they are just way too powerful, and we’re going to see children injured, we’re going to see adults injured, these aren’t anything just to play around with.”

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