WHITMAN — As summer and the Fourth of July holiday approach, Police Chief Timothy Hanlon and Fire Chief Timothy Grenno 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.
“Fireworks are incredibly dangerous and the use, sale or possession of them is illegal in Massachusetts,” Chief Hanlon said. “Any resident who suspects illegal fireworks are being used or present in our community should report them to the police.”
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.
“Besides the legal consequences of firework use, sale and possession, fireworks are extremely dangerous and can cause great harm to friends, family or property,” Chief Grenno said. “Residents should be advised against using or coming into contact with illegal fireworks or sparklers.”
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.
Residents are encouraged to report any misuse of fireworks they notice in their community to the Whitman Police Department at 781-447-1212. In case of a firework-related or other emergency, always dial 911.