Thursday, July 5, 2012
Massive Illegal Fireworks Display Endangers Hundreds in Harold Washington Park: No Police Presence
-posted by chicago pop
"For Licensed Display Operators Only": 108 Shots Diamond in the Sky
Immediately after the City of Chicago's fireworks display came to an end a little before 9:30 this evening, a local entrepreneur - or, more likely, a number of them - decided to illegally keep the show going in the open area of Harold Washington Park directly east of Regents Park apartments, near Lake Shore Drive and the pedestrian overpass at 51st Street (4th Ward - Burns).
Some of the explosives, such as the tubes and large box pictured below, require a federal license to purchase and detonate, and the inventory of fireworks detonated probably cost $400-500 retail.
One of a half dozen fireworks installations, many professional grade 'Class B' barrages, left in the northern section of Harold Washington Park, on plywood sheets approximately 6'x4'.
Illegal fireworks barrage with launch burns visible in the grass towards Lake Shore Drive
For approximately half an hour, the safety of hundreds of people on the lakefront and dozens of passing motorists was endangered by a barrage of powerful, professional-grade pyrotechnics shot off directly over their heads.
The fireworks appear to have all been lit by hand, and within yards of 4th of July spectators. As of late on the evening of 4 July 2012, when these photographs were taken, the detritus was left scattered across the park grounds.
1.3 gram "Aerial Bombs" (license required for purchase), "Asian Sensation", "Never My Love," "Mammoth Strobe Mini"
Embers from the explosions in several instances fell directly onto the Drive, within feet of both observers and vehicles.
According to the Chicago Municipal Code, any person wishing to obtain a permit for an outdoor fireworks display must, among other things, be licensed by the City, have a letter of consent from the Alderman (4th - Burns), be insured up to $1,000,000, and have the site inspected beforehand by Deputy Fire Commissioner. The ability to purchase 1.3G explosives (like the candy-cane colored "Aerial Bombs" pictured above and below) requires a federal license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
I am curious to know if tonight's pyrotechnicians had taken to trouble to meet any of these requirements.
"Z Shape Tomy Gun: 360 Shots"
During the entire period, there was no visible Chicago Police Department presence, or response to repeated 911 calls. Transporting and arranging fireworks of this size and number obviously required some time, and the effort of more than one person, none of which was detected beforehand.