STATE POLICE & FIRE OFFICIALS: Fireworks Enforcement Efforts Have Begun Statewide

Below is a press release from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services:

STOW, MA — State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason recently announced fireworks enforcement efforts have started. The State Police Bomb Squad is part of the Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit (F&EIU) assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, which has already started working with local police and fire departments to enforce the fireworks laws and intercept fireworks being brought into the state illegally.

“It is illegal to bring fireworks into Massachusetts, even if they were legally purchased elsewhere,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey.

The State Police Bomb Squad had a 63% increase in response to fireworks calls in 2020 over 2019. During the F&EIU 2020 fireworks enforcement operation, there were 47 criminal summonses issued over a 4-day period. This year’s enforcement operation has already started and will last longer.

“In addition to special enforcement efforts to intercept fireworks coming into Massachusetts, troopers and local police will seize illegal fireworks they find during routine traffic stops,” said Colonel Mason. “We don’t want a repeat of the huge increase in resident complaints we experienced last year.”

In communities throughout the Commonwealth, there has been a significant rise in resident complaints regarding fireworks. Complaints to the Boston Police Department increased 1,518% from 1,504 in 2019 to 21,346 in 2020, and in calendar 2020, the Springfield Police Department received 3,504 calls for fireworks. The peak was between May 1 and July 31 when 3,345 calls were received.

Fireworks complaints to the Lawrence Police Department increased 409% in 2020 from 2019, and there were 159 fireworks complaints in 2019 and 810 in 2020. In the summer period (May 1 – August 31), fireworks complaints increased by 420% from 148 in 2019 to 769 in 2020. In Brockton, resident complaints about fireworks to the Brockton Police Department increased 611% from 209 in 2019 to 1,486 in 2020.

“There will be supervised displays of fireworks this year unlike last year, so we encourage you to leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “Fireworks are illegal because they are dangerous. Fires started by fireworks in Massachusetts increased 180% in 2020 from 2019.”

In the past decade (2011-2020), there have been 941 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS). The incidents caused 12 civilian injuries, 42 fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $2.1 million, which is high considering most fireworks fires are outdoor brush fires.

Additionally, 32 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burn injuries from fireworks (burns covering 5% of more of the body) according to the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System. This does not include visits to hospital emergency rooms for eye injuries, amputations, puncture wounds or smaller burns. Forty-one percent (41%) of fireworks-related burn injuries reported by hospitals to the Office of the State Fire Marshal in the last 10 years (2011-2020) were to children under age 18. Twenty-six percent, (26%) were children under age 10.

Fireworks should be left to the professionals. To learn more the dangers of illegal fireworks, click here.

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