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Mayor Proposes To Tow Cars For Fireworks Violations



       After a summer barrage of complaints about illegal fireworks, there is a move to toughen a local law in the largest city in western Massachusetts. 

     People with unpaid fines for using illegal fireworks in Springfield could find their car immobilized and towed under legislation proposed by Mayor Domenic Sarno.

      "Get their attention and make them think twice," said Sarno.

      The legislation, which would require state authorization to implement, will be introduced by City Councilor Victor Davila.   

       He sponsored the ordinance the Council passed last year to increase the fine for illegal fireworks use to $300 per violation.

     "It is a real issue, a safety issue, a nuisance, and it is ruining our quality of life," said Davila last summer.

      Fireworks are illegal to sell, purchase, and possess in Massachusetts.  The move to raise the local fine from $100 to $300 came as Springfield and other Northeast cities and towns were experiencing a literal explosion of fireworks with popping and booming coming at all hours of the night.

    "We have veterans in our city with PTSD which ( the fireworks) is affecting," said Davila.

     During a two-week period in June, Springfield recorded over 1,500 fireworks complaints.

     Fireworks were also to blame for two building fires and several grass or brushfires, according to Springfield Fire Commissioner Bernard Calvi.

     "This is no longer a joke, this is no longer fun and games," warned Calvi.

      It is not the first time Sarno has proposed a hard line on fireworks violations.  He initially proposed that unpaid fines for fireworks be attached to driver’s license renewals, vehicle registrations and any professional licensing done by the city.   That proposal died in committee in the City Council.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.
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