GLOUCESTER — As the Fourth of July and summer celebrations approach, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, Fire Chief Eric Smith and Police Chief Edward Conley would like to remind residents that the use of fireworks is illegal in Massachusetts.
It is illegal to use, possess or sell fireworks of any kind in Massachusetts, including Class C fireworks, which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks.” Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs and more. Additionally, residents are prohibited from purchasing fireworks elsewhere and transporting them into the state.
The Gloucester Police Department will be adding special patrols over the coming weeks to respond to late night illegal fireworks activity in the town. Residents can make fireworks complaints by calling 978-283-1212.
“Residents should take the ban on firework use very seriously in order to protect the safety of themselves and their neighbors,” said Chief Conley. “There are a multitude of ways to safely celebrate the Fourth of July without fireworks and spending the day in the emergency room shouldn’t be one of them.”
From 2010-2019, 858 major fires and explosions were reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS) due to the use of illegal fireworks. These incidents caused 12 civilian injuries, 40 firefighter injuries and a loss of approximately $2.9 million.
Gloucester officials recommend that residents only attend displays put on by a licensed professional to ensure safety.
“With many communities canceling their Fourth of July fireworks displays, we want to remind residents that they cannot and should not try to make up for the loss with their displays,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “The safety of our residents is a top priority for all of us, and not engaging in the illegal use of these dangerous items is one way to go about achieving that goal.”
Residents should always:
- Watch fireworks displays from a safe distance.
- Call 911 if anyone gets injured by fireworks.
- Set a positive example for children by not using illegal fireworks. If kids see adults using them, they may not realize the dangers and could be encouraged to pick up matches or lighters.
- Be careful around even the smallest fireworks. Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees and could easily cause severe burns and injuries.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the misuse of fireworks can cause death and injuries including severe burns, contusions, lacerations, eye injuries and more.
Residents should also be aware that a recent lack of rain has caused extremely dry conditions for grass and brush. Errant fireworks are a fire hazard to both homes and forests.
“We wish all Gloucester residents a safe and happy Fourth of July,” said Chief Smith. “This is best achieved by avoiding firework use and the dangers that accompany it.”