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Fireworks task force created to go after suppliers; mayor says city will enforce in ‘life or death’ situation

Illegal fireworks (US CPSC/Flickr)

The mayor’s response to the dramatic increase in illegal fireworks being set off throughout the city at all hours of the night is to focus on education and going after the suppliers, leaving the NYPD to enforce more serious concerns like the uptick in shootings.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday that all people need to know that fireworks are not only illegal but dangerous.

“We intend to go to the root cause and that is the people who are supplying the fireworks and profiting off of illegal fireworks,” de Blasio said. “We’re going to start a huge sting operation to go and get these illegal fireworks at the base.”

Suppliers in the city as well as in neighboring states where New York City residents are purchasing them and bringing them back will all be subject to the sting.

The Sheriff’s office, FDNY and the NYPD have formed a task force that will consist of over 40 officers from each department, including 12 FDNY Fire Marshalls and the NYPD Intelligence Bureau, Deputy Sheriffs.

The NYPD Intelligence Bureau will help identify where the illegal fireworks are coming from, the mayor said, and there will be undercover buys and sting setups.

The FDNY will also lead a public safety campaign aimed at all New Yorkers with a focus on young people.

“There’s a lot to do and we have to do it quickly,” he said. “It’s more than we’ve ever seen and earlier but it’s not new.”

The mayor said enforcement at the street level from the NYPD is difficult because it’s often people setting off fireworks and then leaving the area.

“The most important thing is for the NYPD to work on the most important issues and right now given the other challenges we’re facing I want them working on the most fundamental issues of public safety so I’m concerned about the shootings,” he said.


De Blasio announced the city will partner with Macy’s to bring a legal fireworks show to each borough beginning on Monday, June 29.

Specific information about each show will not be released until shortly before the fireworks show and each show will only be five minutes each.

“We want to get them where people can see them from the own homes, from rooftops, not something where people go to a single location,” he said.

The July 4th finale will take place from the top of the Empire State Building and be aired live on NBC.

“This July 4th is going to take on added meaning; we’ve been through so much,” he said.

“It’s going to something that will be special for the city; different but very special, very powerful, very moving but also very safe.”


© 2020 Staten Island Advance