Illegal fireworks cause local law enforcement to consider harsher penalties for lawbreakers

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – How often do you hear fireworks going off in your neighborhood? All the time, all the time.

Many of us are being woken up by fireworks, such as Indian Orchard resident Sheila Pressley, who told 22News that illegal fireworks have kept her up in the middle of the night.

“Its just ridiculous. Wakes you up at night. It’s crazy. Every night. Same thing,” said Pressley.

Springfield Police and firefighters are trying to keep up with the numerous amount of fireworks complaints.

Springfield Fire Commissioner B.J. Calvi said that the increased phone calls reporting illegal fireworks were too much for them alone.

Calvi told 22News,”It got so busy at one point overflow was kicked over the Northampton state police barracks to be answered. That’s how many calls are coming in.”

Most of the calls the police get don’t include an address since people are setting them off away from their homes in the street.

Police Commissioner Clapprood said its been extremely difficult to track down the people illegally setting off fireworks.

Even when they do and confiscate them, many are getting away without paying the fine that goes along with it. Claprood is even considering more in the way of consequences for those residents setting off illegal fireworks.

Commissioner Clapprood told 22News, “When they get a 50 dollar fine, they rip it up. And if there is no consequence to never paying that fine, it probably doesn’t deter you from that illegal action. so yes let’s make a little bit more of a consequence for being caught with fireworks.”

Clapprood told 22News increasing the fine and holding the parents of young people accountable, may help deter people from using fireworks.

Those who are caught in possession of fireworks can be fined up to 100 dollars. You can only be arrested and face jail time for selling them.

Commissioner Clapprood said fireworks have become a nationwide problem for police departments.
And With July 4th approaching, she expects the calls to increase over the next couple weeks.

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