SWANSEA — With summer in full swing and the Fourth of July holiday fast approaching, Police Chief Marc Haslam and Fire Chief Eric Hajder would like to remind residents that the recreational use of fireworks in Massachusetts is illegal and violators will be arrested.
According to Massachusetts State Fire Marshal, fires started by fireworks increased by 180% in 2020 and complaints to local police departments increased significantly as well. This year, State and local law enforcement agencies will be ramping up their efforts to stop illegal firework use and sales in Massachusetts.
“Swansea Police will be conducting heightened beach patrols over the holiday weekend to ensure there is no illegal use of fireworks,” Chief Haslam said. “Our top priority is the safety of our residents, so we ask that everyone celebrates safely and responsibly this Fourth of July.”
The possession, use and sale of fireworks without a professional license is against the law in Massachusetts, and punishable by confiscation, fine or imprisonment. Fines range from $100 to $1,000, and some violations could carry a one-year prison sentence.
In order to cut down on residents purchasing fireworks in other states and transporting them back to Massachusetts, members of the State Police will begin targeted patrols along state lines to enforce fireworks laws.
According to the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal, between 2011 and 2020, there were over 900 reported major fires and explosions involving illegal fireworks. During that time span, 32 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burns or other injuries from fireworks.
“Illegal fireworks use can cause severe bodily injury, property damage or destruction and even death,” Chief Hajder said. “Those who wish to see fireworks displays are encouraged to leave fireworks to the licensed professionals.”
Residents are encouraged to report any misuse of fireworks they notice in their community to the Swansea Police Department at 508-674-8464. In case of a firework-related or other emergency, always dial 911.