NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The New Haven fire chief is sounding the alarm about illegal fireworks. He says his department has been stretched thin this year because so many people are lighting them off.
We spoke with New Haven Fire Chief John Alston about his concerns Monday following the 4th of July holiday weekend.
Outside of these fireworks being illegal, the chief says the displays spread the department thin with more fires set because of them. Adding, many people are taking commercial-grade fireworks for their own personal use.
The bottom-line message from the chief: be considerate of your neighbor.
Fire Chief Alston said, “Most of these fireworks are illegal and many of them are dangerous. People are now using commercial-grade fireworks for their own personal displays…The other thing that that does is it increases the number of fires we go to. We’ve had some rain in the past, but when it dries out even these bottle rockets, they land on roofs and start fires.”
Forcing his firefighters to respond to the calls for those illegal displays across the city, taking them away from other urgent calls.
“Several major fires started by the misuse and even the improper disposal of those fireworks. We want people to be careful.”
The flip side is, the displays can impact those who are sensitive to the noise like our pets, the elderly, and veterans.
“The other side of the fireworks that people don’t think about is the mental health of our seniors and our veterans. Some of our vets are coming back from campaign and back and thinking they’re safe inside their homes and to find a barage of these loud noises outside their doors.”
This is why, like last year, the New Haven Fire Department and the New Haven Police Department are teaming up.
“We formed a task force where the New Haven Police Department and our fire marshal’s office go out.”
Going out to put a stop to those often dangerous displays.
News 8 found what was left of an illegal display on Ella Grasso Boulevard in New Haven Monday afternoon. Empty boxes and remnants of illegal fireworks throughout the block, which created a mess for the city to clean up.
So Chief Alston is hoping people give his department a break.
“We just want you to be responsible, safe, and think about someone other than yourself.”
Now, many legal fireworks displays will continue this week across the state, many cities and towns postponed them from last week due to the rain and storms.
Remember, only sparklers are legal in Connecticut. If it explodes or shoots in the air, then it is not legal.
As for those illegal fireworks, New Haven Police say if you’re caught setting them off, you could face a fine.