During the first three weeks of June, New Haven Fire Chief John Alston says the department received nearly ten times the calls for fireworks than they did last year.
“There were 30 to 40 calls last year, there are over 300 this year,” said Alston.
They’ve created a task force with inspectors from the fire department and New Haven police officers to track down where they’re coming from and where they’re being used.
“We’re trying to educate first before we start the enforcement side. But now, enforcement has become necessary,” said Alston.
Aside from sparklers and fountains that don’t leave the ground, fireworks are illegal in Connecticut and enforcement can be anything from fines to an arrest.
New Haven officials are using geographic tracking data and details from callers to find where people are setting off the ones they aren’t supposed to.
“We’ve had significant complaints about the use of fireworks around the city, we’re not alone,” said New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker. “I know other cities in Connecticut and around the nation are experiencing the same thing.”
In New Britain, police say 14 people were arrested Thursday after an ongoing investigation. Alston says the city is lucky there hasn’t been a serious injury like in some nearby areas.
“We had a small child, a young lady who was burned. Another person who blew four of their fingers off,” said Alston.
He says people are even making them at home. He pointed to the 2017 discovery of homemade fireworks as a reason why that’s a bad idea.
“Just being able to walk across that rug during that time of year could have set off a charge and blew that house up,” said Alston.
He says the task force will keep working this summer to stop accidents and injuries from happening.