Fireworks complaints shoot up in borough

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By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer

Police plan to increase enforcement efforts

NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck police are targeting the use of illegal fireworks after a spike in complaints.

“There is a community outcry for more action to be taken by our officers and we will be increasing our staffing levels to deal with this quality of life issue,” Deputy Police Chief C. Colin McAllister said.

Police have received more fireworks complaints this year compared to the same time period last year. McAllister said there were 37 fireworks complaints from June 8 to June 22 this year. Last year, he said there were four documented fireworks complaints during the same time, and 18 complaints from June 23 to July 5.

Police say they are increasing efforts to identify the sources of illegal fireworks, which will include additional patrol officers and unmarked police vehicles.

As of last week, there had not been any reports of property damage or injuries due to fireworks, McAllister said.

Aerial displays and fireworks that result in a “report,” or bang, are illegal in Connecticut. Sparklers and fountain-type displays are legal, but can’t be bought or used by anyone younger than 16.

The towns of Beacon Falls and Prospect aren’t encountering the same issue with illegal fireworks.

Prospect Mayor Robert Chatfield said he hasn’t personally heard of any complaints. People who have legal fireworks need to be careful, he added.

“I urge people to be very cautious if they’re going to use it, especially with young children,” Chatfield said. “I’m sure people being cooped up, things being shut down, that might have something to do with it.”

Prospect police Administrative Lt. Nelson Abarzua said the department hasn’t received many complaints. He said there had been no reports of injuries due to fireworks as of last week.

“For the town of Prospect, historically July 3 and July 4 are more active for fireworks, Abarzua said. “The town people respect each other and they respect the veterans and dogs. We have been fortunate so far.”

Beacon Falls First Selectman Gerard Smith said it’s been quiet in town when it comes to fireworks.

“We haven’t had any complaints regarding fireworks,” he said. “I see on some social media outlets discussions but nothing officially addressed to the town.”

People can face a misdemeanor charge if they fail to obtain a permit for a fireworks display and if a non-permitted display results in injury or death, they could face a felony and up a $10,000 fine, according to state law.

The Republican-American contributed to this article.