Tent firework sales in East Ridge

East Ridge, TN (WDEF) – East Ridge fireworks stores are angry that a judge’s decision will now allow tent stalls in their city.

It comes after the City of East Ridge appealed and lost against a million dollar fireworks company from middle Tennessee.

Two giant tents have appeared either side of the East Ridge exit on I-75 in the last 48 hours.

Local businesses want city ordinance 901 upheld, claiming tents selling fireworks are safety hazards.

Jamie Blair with Stereo City in East Ridge says,"I wouldn’t want to see a bunch of stuff go off and people get hurt we see enough tragedy every day on the news." 

Blair was surprised when this tent was erected in the middle of the East Ridge Bi-Lo parking lot.

He says, "Public restaurant, public fireworks next door, gas station, Bi-Lo, our business is over here installing stereos because we were wondering what it was and had no idea." 

The tent is owned by Mid America Distributions which told Hamilton County Chancery Court they never had a tent fires in 38 years of business.

However Keesha Locke Woodard of Dixieland Fireworks is wondering why East Ridge’s fireworks stores had to follow a strict city ordinance back in 2012 that no longer seems to matter.

She says, "As a business owner who has been operating for 365 days a year paying revenue taxes, pay roll taxes, property taxes, if the city ordinance was written for tents we have owned the land for almost 20 years and we would have."

Woodard claims she has invested more than $100,000 in her concrete store following city guidelines that prohibit tents and temporary structures.

She says, "A sprinkler system state of the art, that we have to do yearly maintenance on and we keep water in the lines whether we use it or not and that costs us a lot of money."

Yet lawyers for Mid America proved in court that there is no major risk from firework selling tents catching fire.

Their team which included a medical doctor showed that there are actually more exits from a tent than there are from a concrete building if fireworks were to explode.

Mid America told Chancery Court they operate 2000 fireworks tents in the Volunteer state and have never submitted a single fire insurance claim.

Dixieland and Phantom Fireworks along with other businesses are hoping that East Ridge City Council can stop the tents from selling fireworks before the 4th of July.

Categories: Business, Government & Politics, Hamilton County, Local News

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