(WWLP) – State fire safety and law enforcement officials are reminding Massachusetts residents that fireworks are illegal and should be left to professionals.
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Christopher Mason have started enforcement efforts across the state. 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.
“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. It is illegal to bring fireworks into Massachusetts, even if they were legally purchased elsewhere.”State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey
According to a news release sent to 22News from the state’s Department of Fire Services, the number of resident complaints regarding fireworks is rising. Complaints to the Boston Police Department increased 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.
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 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.