Firefighters filmed setting off fireworks in New York City, where illegal pyrotechnic complaints surged 8000 per cent

The city’s 311 hotline saw 1,737 complaints during the first half of June, up from 21 in 2019

Justin Vallejo
New York
Monday 22 June 2020 18:52 BST
Firefighters filmed setting off fireworks in New York City
Firefighters filmed setting off fireworks in New York City (YouTube)

Firefighters were reportedly seen setting off fireworks in New York City, where complaints about fireworks have skyrocketed by 8000 per cent in the past few weeks.

While illicit firework use is normal in Brooklyn at this time of year, in the run-up to Independence Day celebrations on 4 July, residents have complained of non-stop explosions continuing into the night — far more than usual.

The video footage shared online shows fireworks going off outside a Brooklyn fire station in Crown Heights around 11.30 pm on Tuesday, 16 June.

"I'm right here outside the fire station, and there is fireworks going on over here, and I can tell you that the people that lit it actually came out of the fire station ladder 123. It's messed up. Not cool," the person filming the video can be heard saying.

An FDNY spokesperson told The Independent that the incident remains under investigation.

The video was first reported by The New York Post.

The Crown Heights resident that filmed the video, a 33-year-old father of five who did not want to be identified, told The Post that the public servants should know better than to take part in the brazen wantonness of lighting fireworks in the middle of the night.

"It's like they didn't understand why what they were doing is so absurd. It's late at night, there are kids. You have to be responsible and set an example," he said.

"Every parent in Crown Heights thinks it's insane that fireworks are going off nonstop until 3 or 4 in the morning. It goes from dusk until almost dawn. It's a major issue for me and our community."

New York City's 311 hotline received 1,737 complaints about fireworks in the 15 days from 1 June, a dramatic increase of about 8000 per cent from 21 complaints during the same period in 2019. Over the past 5 years, there have been less than 50 complaints about the illegal use of fireworks during that early June timeframe.

The NYPD said they are making arrests and summonses and encourage residents to report illegal fireworks. So far in 2020, police have seized fireworks 26 times, made eight arrests, issued 22 tickets and responded to a few injuries.

Brooklyn councilman Justin Brannan said every neighbourhood in the city was talking about the widespread illegal fireworks.

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams urged residents not to report fireworks to 311 or 911, saying people should talk to the people behind it and "warn them of the dangers".

"These are real dangerous instruments, you could lose an arm, you could lose an eye, you could lose your life and parents need to know ... your children should not be playing with this," he said at a press conference on Sunday.

Fireworks may have been behind the fire that destroyed a three-story apartment building in Yonkers that killed one man, injured 31 people and left eight families homeless, The Journal News reported.

Yonkers Deputy Chief Joseph Cintrone told the outlet the fire was "possibly started by fireworks and poor housekeeping outside."

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