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Massachusetts residents are still buying fireworks, even though it’s illegal in the state

Fourth of July celebrations are coming up and some residents are buying fireworks to celebrate even if it’s illegal.

In Massachusetts, the possession, use, and sale of fireworks all require licensing and certification. That’s because the state considers them dangerous.

Jake Wark, from the state Department of Fire Services, said transporting fireworks into Massachusetts is illegal, even if the fireworks were purchased legally in another state.

But that didn't stop Daniel from Holyoke who drove up to Phantom Fireworks in Hinsdale, New Hampshire, where it is legal to buy fireworks. He asked that we only use his first name.

"We do it every year. If the deal sounds good, then you know, you make it happen. We get a lot for the kids, you know," Daniel said.

He says they set them off behind his house and isn't scared about getting busted. The maximum penalty for unlawful possession or use of fireworks in the state is up to a $100 fine.

Daniel Martelle, a supervisor at TNT Fireworks in Hindsdale, New Hampshire, said they get a lot of Massachusetts customers.

“People come up from Massachusetts, they come up from Connecticut, and they come up from New York. They'll come up, they'll buy stuff, and then once it hits nighttime, even though it's illegal, cops can't see the fireworks in your car, so then they get back down,” Martelle said.

Wark from the state department of fire services said the law requires that police confiscate any illegal fireworks they see. He said last summer, state police assigned to the Fire Marshal's office seized about $20,000 in illegal fireworks and issued 16 summonses for court hearings on associated fines.

Wark said in the past five years, illegal fireworks in Massachusetts have caused 532 fires and explosions resulting in about $1.5 million in damages and more than 200 injuries to firefighters and civilians. He said if the law were to change, the state could see an increase in the number and rate of injuries.

Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America.
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