Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano today reminded New Yorkers of the dangerous consequences of transporting, buying, selling or using fireworks. In New York City, all consumer fireworks are illegal, and individuals caught buying, selling or using fireworks will be arrested. This year, the Police Department has confiscated more than 5,000 pounds of illegal fireworks, ranging in size from sparklers to professional pyrotechnics. Police have also arrested 70 individuals and seized six vehicles in connection with the transport of illegal fireworks. FDNY Fire Marshals in the Firework Enforcement Unit have made 20 arrests for the sale, use, storage and/or transportation of illegal fireworks, and have seized more than 300 cases of fireworks valued at more than $25,000. New Yorkers are encouraged to view the safe, free and spectacular Macy’s fireworks display, the nation’s largest, which begins at 9:00 PM on Monday over the Hudson River.
“We want everyone to enjoy the Fourth in the city, but fireworks in the hands of an amateur are extremely dangerous and illegal,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “We’ve worked to aggressively crackdown on the use of illegal fireworks and the transporting of illegal fireworks into the city. Our efforts have dramatically reduced the number of injuries caused by fireworks each year, bringing injuries down to only one last year. New York City has the greatest fireworks show in the world – provided by Macy’s – where anyone can safely enjoy a spectacular Independence Day celebration.”
“For the last several years, we have been confiscating fireworks, seizing the vehicles of those transporting them, and making arrests,” said Police Commissioner Kelly. “These enforcement measures appear to be working, as seizures of fireworks are down again this year compared with this time last year. We encourage everyone to celebrate safely, and have a happy Fourth of July.”
“July Fourth is a day for celebration, but not at the expense of safety,” said Fire Commissioner Cassano. “Our Fire Marshals have done a tremendous job removing illegal fireworks from the streets, and our members in Fire Safety Education have worked tirelessly educating the public about the dangers of illegal fireworks. Their efforts show in the dramatic reduction of fireworks related injuries and fires we have seen in recent years.”
So far this year, there have been no fireworks-related injuries and one fireworks-related structural fire in the city.
The Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks are the nation’s largest display of pyrotechnics on Independence Day, and use 55 times more fireworks than the average show in the United States. The show will be over the Hudson River and may be viewed from any area with an unobstructed view of the sky above the river, from 20th to 59th streets.
In 2005, Mayor Bloomberg worked with the City Council to increase penalties for discharging illegal fireworks. A $750 civil penalty for the use of illegal fireworks was created in addition to the already existing criminal penalty of $250 for the use or discharge of fireworks without a permit.
Fireworks burn at extremely high temperatures and can rapidly burn through clothing and skin. Items such as sparklers are mistakenly thought to be safe, when in fact they can be very dangerous. Fireworks only should be handled by trained professionals.