NYC cracks down on selling of illegal fireworks as complaints skyrocket

photovs/iStockBy AARON KATERSKY and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — As complaints of illegal fireworks skyrocket in New York City, the mayor says he’s establishing a task force to crack down on sales.

For the first half of June, fireworks complaints soared to 1,737 — compared to 21 complaints for the same period last year.

The task force — made up of 10 NYPD officers, 12 FDNY fire marshals and 20 members of the Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation — will target those supplying, distributing and possessing large amounts of illegal fireworks, the mayor’s office said.

“We’re cracking down on this activity at the source to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers and the ability of our neighbors to get some sleep,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

The NYPD on Tuesday said it was searching for the man who threw a lit firework on a sleeping homeless person early Monday.

The firework exploded and the victim suffered burns to his back.

The mayor on Tuesday also announced new plans for this year’s Macy’s 4th of July fireworks.

Instead of one big fireworks show on July 4, New York City and Macy’s will provide a series of shows on different nights that are five minutes each to promote social distancing.

De Blasio said the displays will be brought to all five boroughs with shows starting on June 29.

The finale will be on July 4 from the top of the Empire State Building, he said.

New York City, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, entered phase two of reopening on Monday, with hair salons and barber shops opening their doors, as well as restaurants for outdoor dining.

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