You've probably heard them: fireworks going off at all hours of the night for the last several weeks. It's an issue towns and cities across the state and other states have been dealing with. Now Hartford is taking steps to combat it with the public's help.
While illegal fireworks are an issue every year, this year is different. Neighbors in Hartford say it's happening every night and keeping them up.
"This is dangerous. I could be sleeping in my house and my house could be on fire," said Hyacinth Yennie, a Hartford resident and chair of the Maple Avenue Revitalization Group.
Yennie says she hears complaints about illegal fireworks from neighbors daily.
"Every call I get is, 'What are we going to do about all these firecrackers that are going off at 3, 4, 5 o'clock in the morning. I can't sleep!' These are the things I'm hearing," said Yennie.
In addition to a quality of life issue, the city says it's also a safety issue. Hartford leaders say there's been an unprecedented use of fireworks all across the region.
"These are explosives, and they are banned in the city for a reason," said Hartford Fire Chief Reginald D. Freeman. "We are densely populated. These fireworks can easily catch vegetation on fire, your property on fire."
At a news conference on Wednesday, Mayor Luke Bronin said they're dedicating officers overnight to respond to fireworks calls. The city is also asking for the public to call or text to report illegal fireworks.
"I want to be clear about expectations. We're not going to get to every call. We won't always be successful. But we take this seriously. We understand what a significant quality of life issue it is," said Bronin.
In the state, only sparklers and fountains are legal.
Officials say their biggest goal is to educate but that enforcement may be taken and fireworks can be seized and destroyed.
"There is a misdemeanor arrest that could be associated with fireworks. Some of these fireworks fall into the category of an explosive that could move to a felony arrest," said Hartford Police Chief Jason Thody.
"For anybody who is out there setting off these massive, commercial-grade fireworks, please think about the fact that you're causing babies to not be able to sleep through the night, kids to not be able to sleep through the night, seniors to not be able to sleep through the night. You're potentially putting their properties at risk. You've got veterans who have PTSD who are suffering because of what you are doing. And if you're not moved by all of that to refrain from setting off fireworks in a residential neighborhood, then maybe a misdemeanor summons will help," said Bronin.
If you see or know of people launching illegal fireworks in Hartford and can give timely and detailed information about a location, you can call 860-757-0000 or text 860-294-8233.