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Illegal July 4 fireworks on Dorchester Heights rattled neighbors

Posted by Cara Bayles  July 6, 2011 01:14 PM

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iWhile impromptu July 4 fireworks are not unusual in city neighborhoods, an extra-noisy episode this year on Dorchester Heights brought complaints from some residents -- and a visit by a park ranger.

At about 11 p.m., the parks service got a call that a large group of young people were setting off fireworks, which were landing near neighbor’s wood frame houses on Thomas Park.

The parks service called 911, and dispatched a ranger to the scene, who arrived in less than 10 minutes. The crowd dispersed, leaving evidence of the fireworks they’d set off.

The ranger called in an order to the maintenance crew, who cleaned up the park yesterday.

Joan Helfman, a South Boston resident, said that prior to their arrival, the park was littered with rocket boxes and beer cans.

She added that during past July Fourth celebrations, rangers “had a strong presence in the park.”

"Crowds were orderly,” she said in an e-mail. “Lots of families. No drinking. No motorcycles burning rubber on the sidewalk. No rockets being fired that threatened the safety of the spectators and rows of wood houses."

Sean Hennessey, a National Parks Service spokesman, said that while rangers patrol Dorchester Heights, "they aren’t up there all the time.”

Hennessey added that it is not unusual for young people to congregate in the park, and that fireworks are not unheard of in summer months. But he added that park rangers acknowledged the fireworks used on Monday night were unusual.

“There has not been this sort of firework activity in the past. These seemed to be larger and more complicated,” he said.

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