Re: Enforcing DC's Fireworks Laws Is MPD's Responsibility...
- I say amen to that. The fireworks have been going off in my neighborhood since early June, and continued, albeit somewhat subdued, through last night (and I expect will go on for several more weeks). Some of the fireworks that have been set off - mostly this past weekend, but some before and after - have been loud enough to rattle windows. The fireworks continued loudly and regularly until after 3 AM on Tuesday, July 6, and infrequently until after 1 AM last night (because apparently I'm the only one who has to go to work in the morning).
More importantly, the fireworks this weekend were a major safety issue. We have had extremely hot and dry weather for several weeks, and many people's grass and other plants are extremely dry. The fireworks were being shot off without regard as to whether hot ash or malfunctioning charges would hit homes, cars, or people. Apparently witnesses saw people setting fireworks off on the roof of the house on RI Ave. NW that subsequently caught on fire. Despite what others have mentioned, we saw numerous children handling fireworks, including firecrackers, cherry bombs, roman candles, and large flying and exploding fireworks - in other words, things that can seriously hurt them - with minimal adult supervision (no, someone who's been drinking/drugging since noon is not sufficient supervision to entrust your kid with an explosive ordinance).
And then there's the other things the fireworks brought out. I don't know if it was because people were setting the fireworks off in the street or the fireworks were just a distraction or if the holiday meant a vacation from the law, but we saw no fewer than 10 people run our stop sign at full speed Sunday evening, sometimes the same car more than once. Drivers were moving noticeably faster on Sunday night. People were drinking in the street (not the yard, the street). Large groups were gathering all weekend and being loud and boisterous (and, in my neighborhood, probably selling and using drugs and drinking in public) until 3 or 4 in the morning.
And the police did nothing about any of this. We called, multiple times, and got ONE response (outdoor party going on loudly after 3 AM), and that response was pathetic, at best. College students are cracked down on harder for the same behavior, and they tend not to gather on street corners known for drug activity.
Don't want to brave the Metro? Do what me & my neighbors did and find a street corner, balcony, or roof deck where you can see the downtown fireworks. Or put on "A Capitol Fourth" (free on PBS) and down a few brews. Or head to a suburban display that is also professionally executed, supervised by fire officials, and more impressive than the annoying stuff you set off in the street. But permitting the level of bad and dangerous behavior that went on this weekend just sends the message that no one cares...go ahead and do whatever you want.
--- In MPD-5D@yahoogroups.com, "brian.ions" <brian.ions@...> wrote:
> And MPD should stop publicly implying otherwise.
> Actually, Stephanie, MPD needs to do a much better job of enforcing DC's
> EXISTING laws prohibiting ILLEGAL FIREWORKS.
> If the fireworks "goes bang or flies" I'm told that is as illegal in DC,
> as it is in neighboring VA and MD. Witnesses and victims don't need a
> "special team" from MPD and DCF&EMS to determine whether that criteria
> exists or not. Nor should MPD be seen as trying to confuse complainants
> and/or witnesses.
> MPD also needs to avoid publishing confusing and/or mixed messages to
> citizens and criminal perpetrators, alike. Nor should MPD appear to be
> passing the buck to DC Fire EMS for fireworks enforcement calls.
> Any public communications by MPD re. fireworks ought to begin by
> prominently and unambiguously stating the fireworks which are PROHIBITED
> in DC law. The message which began this thread, failed to do so.
> Indeed, its messages positioning, typography and composition all but
> encouraged illegal fireworks use.
> Just FYI, DCF&EMS has a fraction of the force on the streets that MPD
> has. I'm told most of them weren't even on duty on the night of the
> A WORD ABOUT ILLEGAL FIREWORKS USERS' CRIMES...
> Perps find all kinds of rationalizations for their bad behavior, but
> exploding ILLEGAL fireworks at any time of day and/or any day of the
> week, close to residents' homes is a selfish, inconsiderate CRIMINAL
> NUISANCE-- beyond just the illegal possession and use of the banned
> fireworks. Such criminal nuisances apply just as much to church-goers
> double parking on nearby residential streets during services, or
> neighborhood drunks loitering, littering and creating loud
> There are no reasonable, nor compelling excuses for neighbors who so
> flagrantly do violence to the rights of their fellow neighbors--
> disturbing the peace and cruelly ignoring the welfare of their
> neighborhood's pets and wildlife. And those who make light of, or
> defend those crimes, ought to reconsider those obvious hypocrisies.
> Going forward, we hope citizens and MPD brass alike, will give some
> thoughtful consideration to this growing problem.
> brian & don
> PSA 502
> --- In MPD-5D@yahoogroups.com, Stephanie Pimentel <stephanie.simoes@>
> > Good morning everyone,
> > A suggestion--mpd is here to enforce and not make laws. This
> > conversation has descended into what is essentially an argument with
> > nothing but anecdotal evidence to prove it. If the residents of 5D
> > feel so strongly against this (I myself do not--like it or not even if
> > every kind of firework was illegal this would still happen much like
> > guns and drugs. People desire them and to most the risks do not
> > outweigh the benefits) perhaps people should step forward and spear
> > head another effort to get the dc council to change the law.
> > At this point everyone is simply bemoaning their terrible fortune
> > about having to live in a city that has a problem as terrible as
> > illegal fireworks one week out of the year. This is not helping your
> > fellow residents or the police fix or address a problem--which is
> > essentially the point of the listserv.
> > Stephanie on Jackson
For your Information and Sharing
Before you purchase an expensive haul of fireworks, make sure that you can legally ignite and use them in the District. In general, any firework that explodes is illegal in the city. Any person found using or in the possession of illegal fireworks in the District of Columbia could face fines and penalties of up to $2,000 and/or arrest for further prosecution.
Characteristics of Illegal Fireworks
An illegal firework as defined in Article 27 of the DC Official Code may have any of the following traits:
Any firework that moves
Any firework that explodes
Any firework that emits a spark or flame greater than 12 feet
Any firework that has a side-mounted fuse or a fuse inserted at any point along the length of the product’s surface
Any firework that contains mercury (Hg), arsenic (Ar), magnesium (Mg), phosphorus (Ph), or any other highly- 0xidizing agent
Any firework that the Fire Marshal considers to be dangerous to the safety of any person or property
See the table above for specific examples of illegal fireworks
Reporting Illegal Fireworks
To report the use or sale of illegal fireworks, contact the DC Fire/EMS Department’s Fire Prevention Division at (202) 727-1600 or (202) 727-1614.
If you are aware of fireworks being set off in your neighborhood, call 9-1-1 to have police and fire personnel investigate the situation. Please see the attached brochure that will explain firework safety
Roll up your sleeves and beautify your schools! Register to volunteer on Saturday, August 23, 2014.