Fireworks are always a way of life in the City around late June and early July, but this year’s pandemic entries in the fireworks barrage has many thinking the Battle of Bunker Hill is being fought at 3 a.m. by ghosts on the Hill.
Fireworks have raged since April all over the City and in surround cities as well – such as Chelsea, Brockton, Revere and Somerville. The problem this year seems to be they are going off every night like clockwork, they are seemingly louder/commercial grade, and they extend well into the wee hours of 4 a.m. It’s all led to angry adults who can’t sleep, veterans suffering who have PTSD, and pets that go nuts all night.
The issue has been taken on by Mayor Martin Walsh and by Councilor Julia Mejia – who had a Zoom meeting citywide on the issue last week and has started a campaign called ‘Stop the Pop.’
During a press conference last week, Walsh said there were 27 calls reported last May for fireworks, and this year there have been more than 600.
The Boston Police are taking an active role in the matter, and residents are encouraged to call 9-1-1 for reports of fireworks, especially late at night. Police have confiscated large quantities of fireworks in other neighborhoods and will continue to do so.
Still, Mejia said some on her call were reluctant to call police officers for this kind of an issue given all of the protesting and police scrutiny that is unfolding at the same time. She has suggested a neighborhood campaign with fliers, phone trees and coordinated neighborhood groups.
Dan Jaffe of Charlestown said it’s something he would like to see stop, and he and his pets have spent many sleepless nights lately trying to bear the brunt of the booms.
“The last nine nights they have been going off at all hours of the night in Charlestown,” he said. “Sometimes it’s just a pack of black-jackets being fired off en masse or a salvo of bottle rockets in the early evening. Come midnight to 2 a.m., the big stuff is fired off. Last Wednesday someone fired off a very large one at a very low elevation somewhere near the Monument. I was reading a book at the time when the explosion shocked my dogs and me. It took a good hour to calm them down.”
Fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts, but a not-well-kept secret for years is people who head into New Hampshire to the outlets there to buy large quantities to shoot off and sell in the city. No one is certain why there has been more fireworks, more often, and more powerful.
Certainly, though, there have already been fires in other parts of the city attributed to the late-night fireworks and many in Charlestown worry that something like that could happen here in the densely packed neighborhood.