Veterans, local leaders warn against illegal fireworks during Fourth of July weekend

"I would ask that people would just realize that there are veterans all over," said Sean Connor of Brimfield.
Published: Jul. 2, 2022 at 11:05 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Fourth of July weekend is here, and with that comes cookouts, parades, and of course fireworks! As a reminder, it is illegal to possess, use, and transport fireworks in Massachusetts, and officials warned they can be dangerous and affect people differently. Local leaders reminded community members that fireworks can be harmful to some, including pets, babies, and people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, like veterans.

“I would ask that people would just realize that there are veterans all over,” said Sean Connor of Brimfield. He is a 26-year combat veteran of the U.S. Army, and he said fireworks affected him a lot when he first came back from deployment.

“It’s very tough when they set off the fireworks because you hear the loud explosions, especially depending on how close they are, they can be very startling,” Connor told Western Mass News. He recently moved to Brimfield from Springfield, where he said the issue was much worse. He also said veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder may be more easily startled by loud noises than the average person.

“Fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts as it is, so setting them off, we don’t exactly expect them to be set off when it’s not a scheduled event where they actually have the fireworks,” said Connor. “A lot of veterans can go to those scheduled events because we see it, we know it’s coming, we’re expecting it. When its unexpected, and it’s just a big firework going off around us, that’s when it becomes a problem.”

We asked Springfield mayor Domenic Sarno about illegal fireworks in the city. He told us the problem has gotten much better in the last couple years. He said, “We have put in ordinances and some other new enforcement activities on it.” He urged people not to partake in the activity this year because it can be dangerous. “People need to realize with illegal fireworks the harm that they can cause themselves, someone else, something they can do to another home there, the effect it puts on babies, puts on animals, dogs and other animals,” said Sarno.

Connor asked that people be considerate of those around them. “You may not necessarily know who your neighbors are or who the neighbor down across the street or the street behind your house may be, so when you’re setting off those fireworks, you’re not realizing what this is doing to those people,” he said.

Below is a list of some legal fireworks displays going on in our area this weekend:

  • Star-Spangled Springfield: 9:30pm Monday
  • East Longmeadow High School: 9:30pm Sunday
  • Six Flags Fourth Fest: 9:15pm Sunday & Monday