De Blasio vows crackdown on ‘dangerous’ and illegal fireworks

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The city will crack down on dangerous and noisy illegal fireworks after roman candles and bottle rockets flooded the city streets during the tumultuous summer of 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

“Each summer, we look forward to the right kind of fireworks . . . but we also know there’s a real problem with the wrong kind of fireworks,” de Blasio said during his daily virtual press conference.

“Illegal fireworks are noisy, they disrupt the peace in neighborhoods, but they can also be dangerous, and we have to understand how important it is to ensure that illegal fireworks are confiscated, so they can’t do harm to people in communities.”

In June 2020, 8,967 complaints of illegal fireworks were reported to the city’s 311 system from June 1 through June 21, which represents more than 320 times the 28 such calls made during the first three weeks of June 2019.

"Each summer, we look forward to the right kind of fireworks . . . but we also know there's a real problem with the wrong kind of fireworks," Bill de Blasio said in a press conference.
“Each summer, we look forward to the right kind of fireworks . . . but we also know there’s a real problem with the wrong kind of fireworks,” Bill de Blasio said in a press conference.
Matthew McDermott

The mayor said law enforcement will “go after” people taking fireworks from other states, in order for the Big Apple to have a calmer summer compared to last year, when fireworks were set off nearly every night in the five boroughs.

“We’re going after the people who bring the fireworks into New York City to begin with,” Hizzoner said.

“We’re getting right at the source. … This is what is going to help us have a safer summer.” 

Fireworks on display in Times Square on July 1, 2020.
Fireworks on display in Times Square on July 1, 2020.
Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images
Bill de Blasio said law enforcement will "go after" illegal fireworks this summer.
Bill de Blasio said law enforcement will “go after” illegal fireworks this summer.
Paul Martinka

The fireworks task force will have 32 officers, 10 from 12 FDNY fire marshals and 10 Deputy Sheriffs, according to Sheriff Joseph Fucito. They will work in cooperation with state police in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, said Fucito.

“What the task force is looking to do is to develop information on who the major suppliers are,” he said Wednesday during the morning press conference.

“We’re going to look to interdict these illegal fireworks as they come into New York City — so, if we can get them before they get into the city, it’s a good thing for the people. We also want to target the sellers who peddle the illegal fireworks.”

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