NEW YORK - New Yorkers fed up with the amount of illegal fireworks being set off this June gathered at Mayor Bill de Blasio’s residence into the early morning hours Tuesday.
Their message was summarized by Councilman Chaim Deutsch: “If we can’t sleep, you won’t sleep.”
Crowds of people gathered at Gracie Mansion chanted and honked their car horns, videos showed.
8,967 fireworks complaints have been lodged by the city's 311 system from June 1 through June 21, compared to just 28 during the same period last year.
Distburning video circulating online shows someone throwing a firework onto a man lying on the street in Harlem. The NYPD says the 66-year-old man was homeless and suffered minor burns. The suspect and others ran off. Someone is heard laughing in the background.
In response to the increase in fireworks, Mayor de Blasio said his office was forming a new law enforcement task force to try to curb the surge.
The team would be made up of NYPD officers, fire department investigators and sheriff’s deputies who will use undercover buys and other methods to try to cut off the supply chain of fireworks coming from out of state.
“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,” de Blasio said in a statement.
Fireworks have been a problem outside the city, too.
A fire department official says fireworks may have started a fire that destroyed a three-story apartment building in Yonkers, injured 12 firefighters and left six families homeless. The Journal News reports that more than 100 firefighters responded to the fire shortly after 9:30 p.m. Saturday.
Deputy Chief Joseph Cintrone of the Yonkers fire department called the building a total loss and said it might have to be torn down. Cintrone said the blaze may have been started by fireworks and "poor housekeeping outside." He said fireworks may have ignited rubbish in the back yard.
With the Associated Press