COHASSET — With the Fourth of July holiday fast approaching, Police Chief William Quigley and Fire Chief Robert Silvia, on behalf of the Cohasset Police and Fire Departments, would like to remind residents that the recreational use of fireworks in Massachusetts is illegal.
According to the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal, fires started by fireworks increased by 180% in 2020 and complaints to local police departments increased significantly as well. In the past decade (2011-2020), there have been 941 major fire and explosion incidents involving illegal fireworks reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS). The incidents caused 12 civilian injuries, 42 fire service injuries, and an estimated dollar loss of $2.1 million, which is high considering most fireworks fires are outdoor brush fires.
This year, state and local law enforcement agencies will be ramping up their efforts to stop illegal firework use and sales in Massachusetts.
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. Residents are also reminded never to purchase fireworks by mail — the government cannot prohibit the advertising and sale of fireworks by mail, but police do confiscate illegal shipments of fireworks. Many consumers attempting to circumvent the law have lost both their money and their fireworks.
“It is imperative that adults use sound judgement and make smart decisions by not purchasing or using illegal fireworks this Fourth of July,” Chief Silvia said. “Not only for their safety, but to set a good example for children and to keep their families safe.”
Due to fires and explosions involving illegal fireworks and injuries resulting from these incidents and more, the Fourth of July is usually a busy time for firefighters, as they are supervising professional fireworks shows and responding to all types of fires and medical emergencies.
“Fireworks displays can be a great way to celebrate the Fourth of July, but firefighters, police officers and medical professionals ask residents to please leave the fireworks to the professionals and not try to put on their own backyard displays this year,” Chief Quigley said.
Residents are encouraged to report any misuse of fireworks they notice in their community to the Cohasset Police Department at 781-383-1212. In case of a firework-related or other emergency, always dial 911.
The Cohasset Police and Fire Departments wish everyone a happy and safe Fourth of July!