Cumberland police make one arrest for illegal fireworks

Cumberland police make one arrest for illegal fireworks

Complaint calls way down from 2020

CUMBERLAND – Police made one arrest of a person for possession of illegal fireworks over the July 4 week, and according to Chief John Desmarais, also sent some undercover officers to local fireworks tents to see if they could find any prohibited explosive devices.

Those visits didn’t turn up any aerial fireworks, said Desmarais, as it continues to be clear that these aerial fireworks are being brought in from New Hampshire and other places and passed around to friends and family.

Police were out trying to do enforcement around the holiday, Desmarais said, but it continued to be a challenge to catch people in the act unless police have officers actually in the neighborhood when they’re lit.

A police report provided to The Breeze by Deputy Chief Douglas Ciullo offers a few details on the fireworks arrest taking place on July 4 at 6:05 p.m. Capt. Christopher Iozzi said he pulled Terrence Kent over on Broad Street in Valley Falls for an equipment violation when he found him to be in possession of illegal fireworks and with a suspended license, first offense. He was charged with those and summonsed and released on scene.

Kent had a Wise Guys 16-shot fireworks block in his possession, valued at $100, and it was seized, according to the officer.

Desmarais said he noticed a huge decrease from last year’s unprecedented pandemic year in fireworks activity and complaints in Cumberland during the days surrounding the July 4 holiday, agreeing along with Mayor Jeff Mutter that fireworks on the holiday itself were still being set off at a frequent clip.

Mutter this week said fireworks enforcement continues to be a tough issue because the town wants people to be able to enjoy legal fireworks safely, but people “stretch the limits of it.”

In 2020, from June 1 to July 13, Cumberland police had a total of 147 calls reporting fireworks, said Desmarais. In 2021, for that same period, there were 36 calls for fireworks.

David Toste, of Valley Stream Drive, told The Breeze that he again had the same neighbor blasting off illegal aerial fireworks for 20 minutes on July 4, the debris from the display falling on another neighbor’s yard. Luckily there was rain or the home might have gone up in flames, he said. Toste said he expected neighbors to blast off fireworks for a few more days or weeks if they weren’t confiscated by police. People should be going to the town’s display or watching fireworks on TV, he said, not jeopardizing neighbors’ safety.