PALOS, IL — With many community fireworks displays canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the gut-thumping, eardrum shattering blasts from illegal fireworks are expected to be louder and more frequent than in recent years. Fireworks sales in Indiana, where they are legal, are skyrocketing as Illinois residents cross the border to stock on the pyrotechnics.
If you’re planning on dazzling your neighbors with an illegal pop-up display, Palos Park and Palos Heights police will be cracking down on fireworks scofflaws this Fourth of July holiday.
Palos Heights' professional display has been canceled. The police department will be working in conjunction with the Cook County Bomb Squad to address residents’ fireworks complaints. Officers will confiscate fireworks, and, if necessary, arrest people.
“We will give warnings and confiscate your fireworks,” said Deputy Chief Bill Czajkowski, of the Palos Heights Police Department. “A lot of it is powerful stuff and if we’re forced to, we’ll make an arrest.”
Confiscated fireworks will be turned over to the Cook County Bomb Squad to be destroyed.
Palos Park police are taking a preventive approach, following up on residents and businesses’ complaints of potential pop-up fireworks displays, reminding scofflaws of the state’s statutes and laws. Additional staff will be on duty throughout the holiday weekend to prevent, educate and enforce the laws as needed.
“Pop-up neighborhood fireworks are a heated debate,” said Chief Joe Miller, of the Palos Park Police Department. “It is a hindrance when neighboring states have a booming pyrotechnics industry offering fire-sale discounts in the wake of so many canceled Fourth of July shows.”
“We must remember the people who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or who have anxious pets, or are just trying very hard to get a some sleep,” Miller said.
The Illinois Pyrotechnic Use Act (PUA) bans the sale, possession, and use of all consumer fireworks, that can be bought illegally in some states like firecrackers, bottle rockets, and roman candles. Possessing, selling and using consumer fireworks may be punishable by a fine and/or incarceration.
Novelty fireworks, such as sparklers, snakes, party poppers and caps are not regulated but are available for retail purchase in Illinois. Young children should be supervised when using sparklers, which can reach temperatures of up to 1,800 degrees F. The sparkler wire also presents a serious danger because of the high temperature of the wire during and after use.
If you do call 911 to complain about your neighbor’s pop-up display, try to get a complete address so that police can address the resident’s use of pyrotechnics directly, whether that means confiscating their staff, citing or arresting that individual.