For the past month or so, the sounds of fireworks have rang throughout the night in many parts of Long Island. Despite fireworks being banned in New York State for decades, Suffolk and Nassau officials have acknowledged seeing an increase in the number of complaints to police departments about illegal fireworks.
The increase could be attributed to the lack of official Fourth of July firework display due to the coronavirus pandemic, or simply boredom.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone held a media briefing with Suffolk Police Chief Stuart Cameron prior to July 4 to warn residents about the dangers of using illegal fireworks. During the event, they showcased the dangers and destruction of fireworks by igniting a collection of pyrotechnics in a camper.
This past holiday weekend there have been several firework injury incidents in Suffolk County. A man in Port Jefferson Station was injured when he attempted to light a firework that explored and injured one of his eyes. Additionally, a 29-year old man in Central Islip was severely wounded in the hand from an exploding firework. The man was at home on Tamarack Street when the injury occurred around 9:10 p.m. He was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital.
Facebook community groups have also taken notice of the increase in illegal fireworks, People on community Facebook pages have made a number of posts throughout the past couple of months with complaints over fireworks. People not only recognized the negative effect it had on animals, but others mentioned a child with special needs constantly being woken by the loud bangs outside.
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, about 230 people a year are treated in emergency rooms because of injuries caused by fireworks. In 2017, sparklers caused 1,200 injuries.
“Every year, we do these reminders and talk about the dangers of fireworks,” County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said during a call with media after the holiday weekend.
Suffolk County Police Department Chief Stuart Cameron said the county did have a higher incidence of fireworks-related calls, due to the limitations on large crowds at the usual fireworks shows.