Summer starts with a bang and a bust

The summer season started with a bang in Bayside this year, when a Franklin Square man was arrested on multiple charges for setting off hundreds of firecrackers near a group of kids in the playground of P.S. 203.
This was the year’s first fireworks-related arrest in the entire Queens-North police command. Police Officer Omar Rosales was on anti-crime patrol about 5:15 p.m. on Wednesday, June 20, when he heard “multiple, rapid-fire explosions” from the wooded area near 56th Avenue and Springfield Boulevard.
When Rosales entered the woods to investigate, he found Nassau County resident Edward J. Bradley, 21 setting off “belts of firecrackers” and placed him under arrest. Rosales also confiscated two “belts” of unexploded fireworks.
Bradley is charged with reckless endangerment, a felony, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawfully possessing fireworks. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison, and would have to submit a DNA sample if convicted on the endangerment charge. Judge Gene Lopez released him in under his own recognizance; his next court date is July 7.
According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, “There were approximately 25 children between the ages of 12 and 17 playing handball only 15 feet from where [Bradley] was setting off the fireworks, which created a risk of physical injury to them.”
Unlike the “pack” of 20 firecrackers that were once common to Queens neighborhoods, the larger “belt” contains hundreds of the mini-explosives. When these are detonated, unexploded firecrackers are invariably thrown clear, often with short or no fuses, where they can be picked up by small children.
Two-thirds of all fireworks injuries occur in the few days surrounding July 4, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2004, the last year for which figures are available, over 9,600 people were rushed to emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, nearly half of them children under 15.
In 2005, there were 23 serious burn injuries caused by fireworks in New York State, according to the state’s Consumer Protection Board.

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