Local police see decrease in illegal fireworks calls

Western Mass News decided to get answers from local officials to find out why so many billboards in our area are advertising the illegal product sold in borderi
Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 4:58 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - With 4th of July swiftly approaching, the temptation to set-off fireworks is greater than ever, but it is illegal in the Bay State.

Western Mass News decided to get answers from local officials to find out why so many billboards in our area are advertising the illegal product sold in bordering states.

In the past week, Massachusetts State Police seized over a thousand illegal fireworks from drivers coming over the border from neighboring states ahead of the 4th of July holiday.

“It is illegal to bring fireworks across the state border, and there are very stiff penalties associated with that,” State Representative Orlando Ramos told us. “I don’t know why people take that risk. I don’t think it’s worth it.”

Billboards for out of state fireworks can be seen scattered across busy roads, intersections, and highways in Massachusetts.

We spoke with Representative Ramos who said that although fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, it is not illegal for bordering states to advertise the product.

“It’s worth a convo at the state level to see if there’s anything we can do, whether it’s necessary, especially with states that border the Commonwealth, making sure they don’t bring fireworks over the state border,” he said.

Representative Ramos told Western Mass News that the city of Springfield has been aggressive in cracking down on illegal fireworks and could be adopted on a state level.

“The City Council last year passed the petition that was sponsored in the State House by my colleague Rep. Pupulo that attached the fines relating to fireworks to people’s driver’s license, so that’s something going on in the House that could potentially come out in the next session,” he told us.

Representative Ramos said that following this petition, the city has seen a decrease in the number of calls in regard to illegal fireworks.

“In 2020, it was everyday, you know, fireworks,” he said. “I think we’ve seen a reduction in that since then.”

Springfield Police Spokesperson Ryan Walsh confirmed this to Western Mass News in a statement that reads, quote:

“The number of 911 calls for fireworks is down greatly from previous years. In June 2020, we had a spike of 2,000 calls for fireworks. This June, we have had just 55 calls for service. We urge our residents to leave fireworks to the professionals, and if officers are called to your home for a fireworks display, they will be confiscated.”

As for the penalties, possessing and using fireworks can carry a fine of up to $100, and selling fireworks in Massachusetts can carry up to a four-figure fine with possible prison time.