On Monday evening, Councilor Ed Flynn, Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty and State Rep. David Biele, along with the offices of Congressman Lynch and Senator Collins, hosted a meeting with concerned neighbors and representatives from both the Boston Fire Department and the Boston Police Department to discuss the impact of illegal fireworks on our neighborhoods. The meeting, originally scheduled for Medal of Honor Park at 6pm, was held virtually via Zoom and provided an opportunity for elected and public safety officials to engage residents and discuss ways that we can stop the usage of illegal fireworks.
Topics of discussion included increased fines and penalties, contacting 911 with locations and descriptions of illegal activity, greater community engagement, a coordinated regional approach from law enforcement, solicitation from distributors, and working with the MA State Police and US Postal Service regarding the supply of fireworks from out of state and through the mail.
In the meeting, Boston Fire Commissioner Jack Dempsey reiterated that fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, and highlighted various incidents where fireworks have caused serious injuries and extensive damages. Moreover, Commissioner Dempsey noted that a large portion of those injured by fireworks are young people under 18, with 25% of the reported injuries happening to children under 10 in the past decade. Captain Boyle from Boston Police Area C-6 spoke about the spike of calls that they have received from residents, that police officers have been confiscating packages of fireworks, and also that BPD’s Intelligence Unit has been investigating sources of the fireworks. Both the Fire Department and the Police Department are continuing to respond to calls on fireworks, as well as confiscating supplies and issuing fines.
Mayor Walsh has also recently convened a Task Force to address illegal fireworks made up of At-Large City Councilors, the Boston Arson Squad (Fire Investigation Unit), the Boston Police Department’s Bureau of Community Engagement, and community leaders.
Councilor Flynn also emphasized that in addition to enforcement, there needs to be further community outreach about the dangers of fireworks and how it impacts our communities. Last week, Councilor Flynn sent civic organizations, schools, and youth groups a letter outlining the dangers of fireworks, and encouraging them to tell friends, family and neighbors to stop using fireworks.
“I know the negative impacts that illegal fireworks have on our neighborhoods, particularly our seniors, persons with disabilities, those with PTSD, our children and even our pets. I will continue to work with public safety agencies, my colleagues, and neighbors on this issue,” said Councilor Flynn. “Aside from enforcement, we all need to continue to work together as a community to let our neighbors know that fireworks are not only illegal, but also dangerous. Please think of each other’s safety and well being this Fourth of July and throughout the summer, and avoid the use of any fireworks. ”
“The 7,800 calls regarding fireworks placed to 911 from across the city, with several hundred from South Boston alone, have made it abundantly clear that we urgently need to address this problem,” said Councilor Flaherty. “Residents have had enough and I am committed, through my work on the Mayor’s Firework Taskforce and through neighborhood meetings, to finding and implementing solutions that work for our community.”
Rep Biele said, “We have all experienced a significant increase in fireworks throughout our neighborhoods. In addition to being illegal, fireworks also pose significant safety risks and have negative effects on seniors, children, animals, and individuals with post traumatic stress,” said Rep. Biele. “I am thankful for the work of law enforcement and fire safety officials, and I am committed to working with colleagues in government and our community on this quality of life issue. As summer begins, let us all act responsibly, respectfully, and keep in mind that fireworks are illegal and harmful.”
For more information, please contact Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 and Ed.Flynn@Boston.gov.