Your Stories: Tired of illegal, nightly fireworks? City of Syracuse is working on a plan

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — From Bridgeport to East Homer to Auburn to Pulaski, the Your Stories line has been lighting up with people complaining about nightly amateur and illegal fireworks.

For weeks, they’ve been keeping neighbors up all throughout the City of Syracuse, so NewsChannel 9’s Nicole Sommavilla is looking into what’s being done about them.

“They’re loud, they’re consistent, and sometimes they’re really hard to distinguish from gunshots,” said Scott Upham, in the Strathmore Neighborhood.

Scott is not alone. He talks every day with neighbors fed up with fireworks. He even has a petition with more than 350 signatures.

“There’s just a lot of frustration and really a feeling of helplessness and people just, a lot of people said they’re ready to move,” Upham said.

Since May 25, the Syracuse Police Department has received more than 115 calls about fireworks. On Tuesday night, 911 dispatch took 7 calls about fireworks within one hour.

The fireworks are even driving Mayor Ben Walsh crazy, taking to Twitter saying he hears them too.

“It’s not just a quality of life issue, it’s a safety issue as well,” said Walsh. It’s not the small, sizzling sparklers that are the problem. It’s the large, loud, illegal ones.

“It’s also a concern for people that have post-traumatic stress disorder, whether they’re veterans or they’ve dealt with other traumatizing experiences,” Walsh said.

The city wants the community to know the small fountains and sparkling devices are ok, but the projectile fireworks the NewsChannel 9 Towercam keeps capturing, are not.

“We’re going to start with communication and engagement. We’re going to look at appropriate ways to enforce, understanding that we have much bigger priorities from a law enforcement perspective, but we do need people to know that it’s not ok and it’s dangerous.”

Mayor Ben Walsh
"Folks that are out there using these illegal fireworks could possibly start a house fire or even a brush fire and if we don't get notified right away because they're out there doing illegal activity, the fire could grow in size before we have the chance to put the fire out," said Captain David Ellis with the Syracuse Fire Department.

Mayor Ben Walsh says the city will also work with its state and federal partners to try to tighten up some laws to prevent people from bringing in fireworks that are legal in other states, across the border to New York where they’re not legal.

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