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Pittsburgh Public Safety Department Forms Fireworks Task Force

Brian Siewiorek
Complaints about fireworks have increased four-fold this month, compared to last year.

The City of Pittsburgh has formed a task force to address the issue of fireworks being set off in parks and residential areas. During the first three weeks of June, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police received 137 complaints about fireworks, a nearly four-fold increase from the same period last year.

“As a Pittsburgh native myself, I understand that fireworks are an important part of the way we celebrate our Independence Day,” Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said. “Unfortunately, as a result of the ongoing battle against the deadly coronavirus, all fireworks and public gatherings have been cancelled this year. Please remember that fireworks are a real fire hazard and can be very dangerous. I urge everyone to exercise caution this year and not use them.”

Fireworks are not permitted to be set off within 150 feet of a structure or in city parks. Violation of the law could result in a $100 fine and seizure of fireworks.

The phenomenon of nightly amateur fireworks displays has also occurred across the country. Conspiracy theories about the source of the fireworks have popped up on social media, with some accusing law enforcement of being behind the perceived nuisance. But the New York Times has found no evidence that such theories are true. They did find, however, that many of the fireworks keeping New Yorkers up at night were purchased in Pennsylvania.