ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With the approach of the Fourth of July weekend, Rochester police are asking residents to report illegal fireworks. Over the past few years especially, they say they’ve caused a major disturbance in neighborhoods all over Monroe County.
Both the Rochester Fire Department and Rochester Police Department sent out detailed statements explaining the damages done every year from people who they say recklessly celebrate Fourth of July with the types of fireworks which are illegal to possess in New York. Local neighborhood associations say they’re already a big problem due to out of state advertising.
Off Main Street in the North Winton Village Community sits a big billboard advertising rocket launching fireworks. To buy them, you’ll have to travel 2 hours south to Tioga, Pennsylvania, where rocket launching fireworks are legal. The problem is, they’re not legal here. Neighborhood leaders say a lot of people are bringing those fireworks back to this urban neighborhood.
“It’s just basically saying it’s ok to go ahead and do something illegal,” North Winton Village Association Vice Chair Bryce Miller told us. “You just have to go around the corner and down the street to do it. I emailed Lamar last year and told them how furious I was about it. Why are we supporting these signs that support fireworks that are illegal in the State of New York and causing havoc for our neighbors.”
Rochester Firefighters say fireworks have been responsible for 19,500 fires throughout the state, resulting in over $100 million in property damage. They say any reckless behavior or illegal firework use should be reported immediately.
“Call 911 to report this activity,” Lt. Jefferey Simpson for Rochester Fire Department said. “The fire department will come out and check out the area. Hopefully the police department will come out and check out the area. We also want people to be respectful of their neighbors.”
The North Winton Village Association says the disturbance is down so far compared to last year, but heading into the Fourth of July holiday, it hasn’t heard any plan from authorities on how they’ll crack down this year.
“When you call 911, they kind of put their hands up because they don’t have enough resources to take care of the fireworks,” Miller countered. “They’re considered explosive devices so they can’t really confiscate them and put them in a police car. There’s not really any real ticketing process at this point from my understanding.”
The only fireworks that are legal are those that don’t leave the ground, such as sparklers. But firefighters say those too can damage homes and injure people. They urge you to be aware of any flammable surroundings.
“Make sure that you have hose and bucket of water to distinguish any types of duds that don’t go off,” Lt. Simpson stated. “Even the ones that are used douse them with water before you put them into a garbage can.”
Any handheld sparkling device can reach up to 2,000 degrees which Rochester Firefighters say has already led to one porch fire this year.
To avoid any malfunctioning make sure you buy from a licensed retailer. Authorities are urging everyone to avoid shooting off big time air fireworks on their own and instead go to any show offered along Lake Ontario or Downtown Rochester where professionals handle the show.