ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The use of illegal fireworks in the St. Louis-area appears to be on the rise. Area police departments received hundreds of calls about fireworks over the Independence Day holiday weekend.
St. Louis County police say they received about 450 calls for fireworks complaint calls and they issued three summons for the destruction of property. St. Louis police reported 30 arrests related to fireworks. But how widespread was the use of illegal fireworks this year?
Video from Bommarito Automotive SkyFOX helicopter was up in the air to shoot Fair St. Louis fireworks on the night of July 4. We panned the landscape of the city of St. Louis where you can see dozens of colorful displays. They appear to be from professional grade aerial shells firing into the nighttime sky. Many of these pyrotechnics are illegally set off in neighborhoods all over the area.
Fireworks sales are legal in Jefferson and St. Charles counties. Year after year, it is a problem in areas where they are illegal.
SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis reports that a least 11 children were brought to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries. At least nine adults were treated for those type of injuries over the holiday weekend throughout the SSM Health system of hospitals.
In Manchester, the police department reported the number of fireworks complaints was about the same as last year. However, the number of complaints has been going down because the city spread the word through social media and due to the high visibility of police patrols.
"I can't tell you the number of times I've seen even little kids getting hurt by sparklers. You know, they turn the wrong way and they light their cousin's shirt on fire or something. I understand the tradition but it's just too dangerous and, more importantly, it's the law," said Manchester Police Chief Colonel Scott Will. "We have special patrols out and a lot of that is just to keep people safe. It's not that we want to ticket everybody on the Fourth of July but we are there to keep people safe so the officers are out there specifically looking for that and that may have knocked down the numbers a little bit."