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RPD, RFD Chiefs on uptick of fireworks: Annoying, dangerous, and potentially criminal

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Residents in a number of city neighborhoods, as well as neighboring suburbs, have reported an increase in fireworks being set off lately.

To discuss this matter further, Rochester Fire Chief Willie Jackson and Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary will held a joint press conference regarding the “growing issue” of fireworks Wednesday.

“There’s been a large increase in complaints on illegal fireworks,” Chief Jackson said. “There’s been an uptick in fires related to fireworks as well. Fireworks are not safe in the hands of consumers.”

The fire chief reminded residents that every year there are more than 10,000 injuries nationwide related to fireworks. The fire chief also reminded residents of potential criminal ramifications.

“If your fireworks starts a fire, you can be charged with arson,” Chief Jackson said. There are legal consequences to think about.”

Chief Singletary echoed the thoughts of many.

“The fireworks are annoying,” Singletary said.

MORE | Hearing more fireworks this year in Rochester? You’re not alone

“They sound like cannon fire,” said Beachwood resident William Mills. “It’s annoying, especially when you’re laying in bed.”

Chief Singletary says if you know where fireworks are going off, call 911.

“If you know where people are setting off fireworks, give us a call and let us know the location,” Chief Singletary said.

Lt. Ryan Fleming with the Rochester Fire Department told News 8 under “no circumstances should illegal fireworks be used.” If you’re out on the streets lighting any kind of fireworks off, keep safety in mind. 

“Remember these things explode. They can cause physical harm,” says Lt. Fleming.

Some Police departments in the region say they are getting an uptick in calls on fireworks. While no one seems to know why there’s a rise, the Rochester Police Department says it’s normal this time of year, and people across the US are severely injured by fireworks annually. If anyone hears them in Rochester, call 911 so they can investigate.

“Certain fireworks are illegal to use within the city and all fireworks are dangerous.  Every year people across the country are severely injured by fireworks and it’s our job to not only enforce the local laws regarding fireworks, but also to protect our citizens from injury,” said RPD Lt. Frank Camp.

However, Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart (D-21) says calling 911 isn’t enough, and also reminds the community pets and veterans with PTSD can also be negatively affected. 

“We’re going to need a multi-pronged approach that involves education,” she said.

For more information on New York’s fireworks laws and regulations, visit this website.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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