BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s iconic July 4th fireworks display will not be happening this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the July 4th holiday weekend approaches, city officials are reminding people of the dangers of lighting fireworks and sparklers. They also are illegal in the city.
For weeks, Baltimore residents have been plagued by illegal fireworks being lit nightly across the city — leading to disruptions in sleep for adults, children and even pets.
But with the regular Independence Day festivities being canceled due to coronavirus, officials are warning that fireworks are not only illegal they are dangerous.
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“I encourage everyone to find a safe alternative in lieu of fireworks and sparklers,” Mayor Jack Young said. “Over the past few weeks, if not longer, there have been several complaints to our police department about the loud and lengthy fireworks in many neighborhoods throughout the night. While this is extremely disruptive to the community, it is also illegal.”
“If you make the decision to use fireworks sparklers, remember, you’re putting yourself and others at risk,” Deputy Fire Chief Roman Clark said.
According to the state fire marshal’s office, thousands of injuries are reported each year due to fireworks being mishandled.
“There are no safe fireworks,” said a spokesman for the state fire marshal’s office.
Hand to finger injuries account for 28% of injuries seen in the ER each year.
Although some believe sparklers are safe for kids, they are actually very dangerous. They can reach a temperature of up to 2,000 degrees.
“We strongly encourage and urge residents to consider safe alternatives and enjoy a safe holiday, such as using glow sticks noisemakers confetti filled balloons or maybe even setting up a projector outside and viewing online fireworks displays,” the lieutenant with the fire marshal’s office said.
Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said officers are responding to calls to find identify suspects who are lighting fireworks, but as well as where fireworks are being sold and stored.
“The BPD is committed to working with residents of Baltimore City to keep our neighborhoods safe and we continue to work with our communities to identify and hold accountable those who are causing harm to our neighborhoods,” Harrisons said. “Members of the community are encouraged to report locations where fireworks are being store ignited, and even sold. As always, if you see something, say something.”
He told residents to call 911 or Metro Crime Stoppers to remain anonymous.
There will be a larger police presence in Baltimore throughout the holiday weekend.
“We always make plans to have an increased police presence and visibility for holidays,” Harrison added.
Officials said they are encouraging people to celebrate more safely by using confetti or glow-sticks.