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Owner of fireworks stand must pay fine, court costs

October 5, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

NEW CUMBERLAND - The owner of a fireworks stand in Chester that caught fire on June 23 must pay a fine of $200, plus court costs, on charges stemming from the incident.

Russell "Chip" Kohser, of Monaca, Pa., pleaded guilty this week to two misdemeanor counts of illegal possession of fireworks. Hancock County Magistrate Michael W. Powell fined him $100 on each count and assessed court costs.

Kohser was charged after his fireworks stand, set up in front of Shorty's Place Bar and Grill on U.S. Route 30, caught fire, igniting the fireworks and damaging the siding on the bar.

The impromptu fireworks show that resulted stopped traffic on Route 30 and was captured on several videos. Investigators believe the fire was caused by a short in an extension cord being used to run the lights in the stand.

Kohser previously had sold fireworks at Stateline Feed & Country Store, which he closed in January. This was the first year for the stand in front of Shorty's.

Investigators with the West Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office said Kohser was selling fireworks prohibited in the state, including fireworks that "go airborne and give a loud report."

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