Owner after arson: Fireworks store back open ‘like a phoenix, man’

The newly rebuilt GS Fireworks outlet on 44th Street SW near Burlingame Avenue in Wyoming on Nov. 16, 2016.
The newly rebuilt GS Fireworks outlet on 44th Street SW near Burlingame Avenue in Wyoming on Nov. 16, 2016.


WYOMING, Mich. (WOOD) — The man who went on an arson and car theft spree along 44th Street in Wyoming on July 5 is headed to prison for the next six to 20 years.

Now the most spectacular victim of that spree, a year-round fireworks store is about to make its comeback.

The paint is still drying on the newly rebuilt GS Fireworks outlet on 44th Street SW near Burlingame Avenue, but only five months ago it looked very different.

David Jewell arrived early morning of July 5 to see his business blazing, smoke visible for miles.

>>Photos: Fire at GS Fireworks store

GS Fireworks fire Wyoming
Fireworks erupt during fire at GS Fireworks in Wyoming. (July 5, 2016)

“When I got here — It was very, very hard to watch,” Jewell said at his store Wednesday.

This was the former tool and die maker’s dream that became a reality only two years ago.

“Staring in a tent, to a storefront, to where it’s full-time now,” Jewell recalls.

The store was part of an arson spree police say was committed by 34-year-old Casey George Marvin who also took responsibility for setting fires at a nearby apartment and home as well as stealing two cars and crashing one all in about a three block radius.

Police say a witness saw Marvin through a lit firework into the store early the morning of July 5.

Jewell said the explosions from that firework set the ceiling insulation on fire and burnt thru building down to its rafters.

Marvin then allegedly went to a nearby apartment complex and lit a bag of stuffed animals on fire on a balcony before stealing a vehicle.

He crashed that vehicle into a tree on 44th Street and allegedly tried to set it on fire by putting a burning rag in the gas tank, according to police.

Casey Marvin arraignment Wyoming fires
Casey Marvin appears via video for his arraignment. (July 8, 2016)

Court documents say after the crash, Marvin broke into a house on Oriole Street, stole some items and then started a fire inside the home before getting away in a stolen car.

Police later found Marvin driving the wrong way on 36th Street near Burlingame. Officers rammed the stolen vehicle to stop it. Marvin was taken away in an ambulance.

He pleaded no contest to charges and was sentenced Monday to six to 20 years in prison.

“I do have a heart, I hope he can get his life on track, but as far as six years go, I don’t think that’s long enough.”

For Jewell, it was a heartbreaking loss, but he did not stay down long.

“I was going to do anything I could to rebuild this business,” he said. “Like a phoenix, man, I rose from the ashes and hopefully we’re going to be here for many, many years to come.”

Jewell had some insurance on the building but lost tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise that went up in smoke and colorful explosions.

He did most of the rebuilding himself and now has a new facility he hopes will be ready to open on Monday, if Wyoming building inspectors give it a passing grade

“Thanksgiving is a legal federal holiday, so you can do fireworks Wednesday, Thursday and Friday – if you please. What better way to celebrate Thanksgiving?” Jewell asks.

By state law, fireworks are legal on the three days around any federal holiday — a fact not everyone is happy about, but for guys like David Jewell, Fourth of July can’t come often enough.