Illinois customers keep fireworks business booming in Indiana

The number of fireworks injuries is on the rise in Illinois, but that isn't stopping thousands of people from crossing the border to Indiana where they can buy fireworks legally.

With the Illinois state line less than a block away, Uncle Sam’s Fireworks store in Hammond is so busy, they've hired a guy just to direct traffic.

It's boom time for dozens of other fireworks stores in northwest Indiana.

The vast majority of plates on customer's cars are from Illinois, where fireworks are illegal.

"Everyone around the block has fireworks shows on every block and the police officers don't really care. They look the other way,” one man said.

"We've seen some small minor burns at this point in time but I really expect the brunt of what we're going to see to come in the next two or three days,” said Dr. Stathis Poulakidas.

Dr. Poulakidas treats burn patients at Stroger Hospital. He says the number of injuries caused by fireworks is on the rise.

The Illinois State Fire Marshall's Office counted a record 349 people hurt by fireworks in 2017 -- about 70 more than two years earlier.

The Fire Marshall believes it's due to the easy access of fireworks as more states makes them legal.

"If you do have to use them drugs and alcohol play a huge role in not having a good sense of what's going on with the firework device. And really contribute to the injury mechanism,” Dr. Poulakidas said.

But Indiana’s largest fireworks retailer says the huge crowds in his massive store prove the old axiom, you gotta’ give the people what they want.

"I think the passion and the love for fireworks is out there. I really truly believe if people are gonna buy fireworks, they're gonna buy fireworks regardless,” said Greg “Krazy” Kaplan.

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