BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Weekends, weekdays, and all hours of the day and night: that was when you probably heard fireworks going off in residential neighborhoods across the state last year. In other words, all the time.
Police and fire departments across Massachusetts are looking to stop a similar surge of illegal fireworks this summer.
Sgt. Bill Qualls is on the State Police Bomb Squad, and said 2020 was an illegal fireworks banner year.
"If you were not exposed to a constant barrage of loud detonations and reports every night of the week... you were probably in the minority," he said.
Officials said in Boston alone, firework complaints spiked by more than 1,500% last year, from around 1500 complaints in 2019 to more than 21,000 in 2020. The peak was during the summer, between Memorial Day and the end of July.
"We clearly need to enhance our efforts in trying to mitigate that issue...fireworks are still illegal in the state of Massachusetts," he said.
State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey and State Police Colonel Christopher Mason warned potential fireworks buyers that it was illegal to bring in the explosives from out of state, and that teams of local and state troopers would be trying to catch anyone coming in to Massachusetts with fireworks from places where they're legal, like New Hampshire.
Owning and setting off fireworks is illegal without a license, and people who do can be hit with a fine of up to $100. The penalty for selling fireworks in the state is much harsher, up to $1000, and even a jail sentence of up to a year.
WBZ's James Rojas (@JamesRojasWBZ) reports: