fireworks

911 Has Been Called About Fireworks in Chicago 8 Times More Than Last Year: OEMC

Residents across the city have reported hearing fireworks erupting in their neighborhoods for days

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Chicago has so far recorded more than 7,000 911 calls about fireworks disturbances this year - more than eight times the numbers seen during the same time last year.

According to the Office of Emergency Management and Communications, from Jan.1 to June 21, the department received 7,042 calls. During the same time in 2019, the city reported just 842 calls.

"The Chicago Fire Department reminds residents every year that all fireworks are illegal in Chicago, even the once legal 'sparklers' have been outlawed in the city because they operate at such a high heat level that they can cause very serious burns and can ignite clothing," OEMC said in a statement. "The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications encourages residents to be mindful of this along with the safety and welfare of their neighbors and the larger community."

Residents across the city have reported hearing fireworks erupting in their neighborhoods for days. Social media posts complaining about the spike in fireworks have appeared on several community pages for city neighborhoods.

"Is it normal that people do fireworks for every night for four weeks straight from 7pm-4am?" one post in the Hyde Park (Chicago) Neighborhood Crime Watch group read. "Sounds like we live in a war zone, no one is getting sleep, and we all need to work the next day without childcare because of COVID."

Ald. Raymond Lopez of Chicago's 15th Ward wrote on Facebook "it seems that this year fireworks have started sooner in the year and have gone on far into the night" and encouraged residents to report the incidents to 911.

"That is unacceptable!" he wrote. "Those who blow illegal fireworks do not care who they disturb or what hazard they are creating for their neighborhood."

He also asked those who do call 911 to also call his office afterwards so his office can follow up.

"Everyone deserves to live in a quiet neighborhood. Like with other neighborhood problems, we have to start identifying the problem if we're going to correct it," he wrote.

And Chicago isn't alone.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled a new multi-agency task force to crack down on illegal fireworks as complaints reached unprecedented levels for this time of year. 

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