fireworks

Sleepless in Connecticut: Residents Complain About Fireworks

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“It’s awful. It’s really awful,” said a frustrated Dawn Anderson, who lives on Hartford’s southwest side. “The sound is so close you think it’s coming through the window.”

Anderson, her sister Judy Williamson and their elderly mother have lived in the same White Street house for 30-years.

Recently, their quiet life on Hartford’s White Street has been disturbed daily and nightly by the sound of fireworks.

“I shake. Sometimes I think I’m having a heart attack because I think it is gunshot or something,” said Williamson.

She said their 81-year-old mother is so scared she wants to move.

Hartford Police Lieutenant Paul Cicero said the complaints about illegal fireworks started coming in from residents in April.

“A lot of municipalities elected to postpone or cancel their fireworks altogether.  So, I think we’re seeing a lot of people essentially creating their own fireworks shows, unfortunately,” he said.

The noise isn’t just a nuisance in the capital city. 

“These incredibly large booms,” described West Hartford resident Enjae Ostberg.  “These are not the kind of fireworks that people shoot off and you see the colors. These are like cannon booms.”

She said that they reverberate in the walls of her Beacon Street apartment.

“Kids are scared. Pets are scared,” said Ostberg.

"It's also difficult for the police right now to pinpoint where they are coming from because as they hear it and they get the complaint, they drive and it's not going off anymore," Wethersfield Mayor Michael Rell said.

West Hartford Police said by this time last year, they’d received three fireworks complaints. So far, they’re up to 53 calls for 2020.

Catching the culprits can be a challenge.

“Setting off a firework only takes a couple of seconds, maybe to a minute or so.  By the time someone calls us, and we get the officer on their way out there, usually by that time everything’s already happened,” explained Captain Michael Perruccio.

“They’re pretty loud. They’re pretty substantial. They’re not just firecrackers,” said West Hartford resident Thomas Dorsey.

 Residents say they’re not just hearing the booms at night but in broad daylight.

“Everybody wants to be out doing stuff, but come on. There’s got to be a limit sometime,” added Ostberg.

New Britain Mayor Erin Stewart shared her two cents on social media: “Every Night? Why? Have some respect” she posted on Facebook, along with the phone number to the police urging residents to call in specific addresses where incidents are occurring.

“Boom boom boom, bang bang bang, all throughout the night. It was a beautiful night, I had the windows open, and it was just very frustrating,” said New Britain Resident Steven Jeney.

Jeney complained that the fireworks woke up his son Sunday night into Monday morning.

 “It’s been worse this year,” he said. “Because everybody’s been trapped in their house, now they’re all going buck wild.”

While residents are worried about losing sleep, police point out that lighting off illegal fireworks is also dangerous.

Perruccio emphasized that fireworks are basically explosives.

“If a mortar or if one of these fireworks, roman candles, ends up on someone’s house, or in a tree, or in a yard it can create a fire,” added Cicero who said that Hartford’s police and fire department plan to start working together on a targeted enforcement of fireworks violations.

SAFETY MESSAGE!Fireworks are not allowed by law in Connecticut for use by non-professional, non-licensed users....

Posted by Wethersfield Volunteer Fire Department on Monday, June 15, 2020

"It's a reminder that they are in fact illegal so they shouldn't be lighting them off.  While at the same time we don't know if they are from Wethersfield, if they are from Hartford, if they are from New Britain, if they're from Newington. It's a difficult thing or activity to pinpoint," Rell said.

Residents say it's the lack of common courtesy keeping them awake night after night.

“I can’t sleep at night, and it’s scary,” said Williamson.

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