Fireworks task force using ShotSpotter


Last updated 6/30/2021 at 8:26pm

It's no secret that Pittsburghers love their fireworks. From Pirates games to Independence Day at Point State Park, elaborate fireworks displays are a time worn tradition in the city. 

Consumer-grade fireworks became legal to purchase in Pennsylvania in October 2017, resulting in a sharp annual increase in fireworks-related calls for service in the City of Pittsburgh.

Last year, private use of fireworks in Pittsburgh resulted in seven structure fires, several brush fires, reported injuries, and multiple noise complaints. The Fireworks Task force handed out 22 citations. 

The Fireworks Task Force (FTF) will continue to be out this year in all zones from 7 p.m. until 2 a.m. every night until July 5.

Although fireworks may now be legal to purchase, it is not legal to discharge them within 150 feet of a structure. They are also not permitted for use in any city park, ball field, or any city-owned property. 

When Fireworks Task Force members and uniformed police officers respond to initial fireworks-related complaints they will explain the laws and regulations governing consumer fireworks in the city. Subsequent calls to the same address could result in a $100 citation and confiscation of the fireworks. 

"The use of fireworks in the city can result in serious injuries and destruction of properties, as well as being very disruptive and unnerving for both people and pets," said Public Safety Director, Wendell Hissrich. "That's why this year, in a concerted effort to keep everyone safe, we will also be utilizing the city's ShotSpotter system to help track illegal fireworks use." 

The Fireworks Task Force is comprised of eight members from the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire.


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