Worcester task force targeting illegal fireworks

WORCESTER, Mass. — In Worcester, a major effort is underway to make the city quieter by targeting the use of illegal fireworks. Last year, the Worcester Police Department received nearly 2,000 complaints about illegal fireworks.

Residents well remember living through nights of mini-explosions.

“There would be lots of popping you’d hear at night,” Robert Smith of Worcester said. “At night there would be a lot of fireworks, it would be pretty annoying to try to sleep.”

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This summer, a Fireworks Task Force comprised of members of the Worcester Police and Fire departments is already at work trying to educate residents on the dangers of illegal fireworks.

“You’re talking, with fireworks, devices that can get up to 2,000 degrees very very fast, even a sparkler can be 2,000 degrees. It is going to cause serious injury if it’s going to be used improperly or if there is a malfunction,” Deputy Fire Chief Martin Dyer said.

Like many New England cities, many Worcester residents live in triple-deckers or other large buildings sited very close to neighboring homes. The densely packed homes can spell disaster.

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“People do, in fact, go to New Hampshire when they bring them here. Some of the three-deckers are made of horsehair plaster and dried wood. It can be a recipe for disaster,” said Officer Sean Lovely.

The Worcester Illegal Fireworks Tip Line is already set up. Call 1-508-799-1003 to report the use of illegal fireworks in Worcester. Once a call is received, police will document the source of the call and investigate the complaint.

So far, the Tip Line has received less than 60 calls; that’s far fewer calls than the Tip Line received at the same time last year. But the summer is young, and the Task Force is hoping they will be able to keep the number of fireworks complaints low.

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