NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There has been a dramatic spike in illegal fireworks. The number of 911 calls is 10 times higher than last year.
On Monday night, in a span of just about an hour Chopper 2 spotted fireworks being set off from multiple locations in the five boroughs.
Reporting from the Edenwald section of the Bronx, CBS2’s Dick Brennan found out a lot more about this and a shocking video that is making the rounds on social media.
Homeless man literally set on fire last night on the streets in Brooklyn. Take a close look NOT one person can be seen defending this victim. Not one person seemed to care no protesters to condemn no news media to tell the story. pic.twitter.com/OYlgLJUuis
— SBA (@SBANYPD) June 23, 2020
The video appears to show someone throwing an illegal firework on a sleeping homeless man at around 4 a.m. on Lenox Avenue in Harlem. The victims is said to be 66 years old and suffered minor burns. The NYPD is looking for information on when and where it happened and who may be behind it.
As for the fireworks show set off over the city on Monday night, Chopper 2 saw examples in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and pyrotechnics over Harlem. The scene was much the same in Washington Heights and in the Bronx.
A constant booming night after night.
“It was like sparkles and they just went off and I said are you kidding me? That was Tuesday, then on Wednesday they were blowing off the big guys,” said Julie McCormick of City Island.
Tomorrow we’ll be announcing a multi-agency crackdown on illegal fireworks suppliers. More details in the morning.
— Freddi Goldstein (@FreddiGoldstein) June 23, 2020
The big question is why does it seem that there is so much more going off weeks before the July 4 holiday?
According to the NYPD, 911 calls for illegal fireworks are up more than 10 times the amount from the same period last year. More than 13,000 to be exact.
“I mean, is there no enforcement? Are they slowing down? What is it that’s happening? This gives me great concern,” City Councilman Daniel Dromm said.
And it’s happening just in New York City. New Jersey is also getting an earful, and state police say it has become dangerous.
“Save our Forest Fire Service from that. They’ve responded to over 700 fires already,” New Jersey State Police Col. Pat Callahan said. “They are illegal and should only be done by hose permitted professionals.”
Earlier Monday, there was a giant blast at Rodman’s Neck, but that’s because police deliberately incinerated illegal fireworks. Smoke billowed into the sky and could be seen for miles. FDNY fireboats were called to the scene to put out the fire.
“It’s scary. You think something monstrous is blowing up,” said Gerry McCormick of City Island.
“It was quite loud and smelly because it comes here to the island,” resident Susan Strazzera added.
People across the water on City Island said they may be used to the shake, rattle and roll that goes on daily at Rodman’s Neck, which operates as an NYPD firing range, but Monday’s blast had an extra oomph.
“Got a lot of reports about shaking glass, shaking homes, you know, car alarms going off,” said Bill Stanton of the City Island Civic Association.
Many said say they don’t mind the fireworks, but why not wait until the Fourth?
“Not here. You don’t blow off a big display of beautiful fireworks, now. Especially at night. It was after 9 o’clock,” Julie McCormick said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a multi-agency task force to stop the flow of illegal fireworks. More is expected on that on Tuesday, Brennan reported.