FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 2, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, POLICE COMMISSIONER KELLY AND FIRE COMMISSIONER SCOPPETTA WARN NEW YORKERS OF DANGERS OF ILLEGAL FIREWORKS
Also Encourage New Yorkers to Watch Safe and Free Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Show - The Nation's Largest
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today warned New Yorkers of the 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's Vice Enforcement Division and the Fire Department's Bureau of Fire Investigation have confiscated over 1,000 cases of illegal fireworks and have made 55 arrests for possessing or trafficking illegal fireworks. There have been 1,475 calls to 911 and 78 calls to 311 about illegal fireworks so far this year, which is down from 1,948 calls to 911 and 83 calls to 311 for the same period last year. The Mayor and the Commissioners were joined by Robin Hall, executive producer of the Macy's 4th of July Fireworks. The Mayor encouraged New Yorkers to view the safe, free and spectacular Macy's display, the nation's largest, which begins at 9:00 PM on Saturday.
"Fireworks in the hands of amateurs are not good family fun - they're dangerous accidents waiting to happen," said Mayor Bloomberg. "They also happen to be illegal. We urge all New Yorkers to report the sale, storage, transport or use of any illegal fireworks to 311. Instead of using illegal fireworks, New Yorkers should take in the incredible fireworks show put on by Macy's. This year the show will be over the Hudson River to honor the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson's first voyage up the river that now bears his name."
"Even though we are getting fewer complaints this year about illegal fireworks, the Police Department is keeping up the pressure with more seizures of them and more arrests of those bringing them into the City," said Commissioner Kelly.
"The Fire Department has helped make the 4th of July a safer holiday than ever before thanks to increased enforcement and education," said Commissioner Scoppetta. "I commend our Fire Marshals for their efforts to keep illegal fireworks off the streets, and our fire safety education unit for teaching people of all ages, and especially children, about the dangers of fireworks."
The Macy's 4th 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. This year, 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. Please note that there is very limited viewing north of 59th Street on the west side.
In 2005, Mayor Bloomberg signed legislation to increase penalties for discharging illegal fireworks. Working with the City Council and bill sponsor Council Member James Oddo, the City created a $750 civil penalty for the use of illegal fireworks 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 should only be handled by trained professionals. To report illegal fireworks activity, call 311.
Stu Loeser/Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Paul Brown (Police)
Francis X. Gribbon (Fire)
Elina Kazan (Macy's) (212) 494-4624
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