As the Chief of the Malden Fire Department, and a Malden resident, I certainly share the concerns of all Malden’s residents, with respect to the use of illegal fireworks in our City. Many surrounding communities, as well as cities and towns across the nation, are reporting a significant increase in the use of illegal fireworks over these past few weeks as compared to this same time period just a year ago.
In Massachusetts, where the possession and use of fireworks by private citizens is illegal, their use keeps both local fire and police departments very busy. Each year the injury risks, and fire hazards, associated with the use of illegal fireworks are disseminated by local fire and police departments to the public. This year is no different. According to the Massachusetts State Fire Marshall’s Office, last summer there were many fires, amputations and burn injuries from illegal fireworks in Massachusetts. In the past decade (2010-2019), there have been 858 major fires and explosions involving illegal fireworks in Massachusetts. These incidents resulted in 12 civilian injuries, 40 fire service injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $2.9 million.
Additional data collected by the Massachusetts State Fire Marshall indicates that in the past decade (2010-2019), 37 people have been treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burn injuries from fireworks – burns covering 5% of more of the body. Thirty-three percent were children age 14 or younger. An additional 22% were youth aged 15-24. The youngest victim was a seven-month old boy. These victims are scarred for life.
People must understand and acknowledge that fireworks displays, common around the July 4th Holiday, must be left to the professionals. This past winter was an extremely mild one with minimal snowfall and these last few weeks have been very dry as well with little rain. The area being as dry as it is obviously increases the risk of fires that can spread quickly.
The Malden Fire Department urges residents of, and visitors to, Malden to stay safe this 4th of July and throughout the year. Please do not use, and for the safety of your families stay clear of, illegal fireworks. In addition we ask you that report incidents of illegal fireworks use to the Malden Police and Fire Departments via the 911 system. For more information please visit the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services Website at - https://www.mass.gov/service-details/leave-fireworks-to-the-professionals
Bill Sullivan – Malden Fire Chief