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‘It’s literally every night’: Dorchester residents losing sleep, patience over fireworks

Several packages of fireworks were confiscated from a group at Saint Peter's Church parking lot in South Boston Saturday night.
Several packages of fireworks were confiscated from a group at Saint Peter's Church parking lot in South Boston Saturday night.Boston Police Department

The Haile family have been roused from their sleep night after night for weeks by what sounded like massive explosions outside their Dorchester home.

That’s what the fireworks, a recent nuisance in parts of Dorchester, have sounded like. After dozens of calls to police, a profanity-laced confrontation with the alleged firework shooters, and endless nights lying awake, Andrew Haile and his family are ready for some peace and quiet.

“It’s atrocious, exponentially worse than years past,” said Haile, 35, a lawyer in the attorney general’s office who has lived in the West of Washington Street community for six years. “It’s not just one little burst and it’s gone. It’s literally every night.”

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Haile said he has called the police nightly since the fireworks began in hopes of quieting the neighborhood and calming the nerves of his 2- and 4-year-old daughters. So far, he’s had little success.

Officers have been receiving firework complaints around the city, according to Sergeant Detective John Boyle, spokesman for Boston police. Some have led to arrests or firework seizures in recent days.

In Mattapan Saturday night, officers responded to a report of fireworks on Astoria Street, an area where they have received complaints of fireworks “on numerous occasions,” Boston police said in a statement. Officers seized large quantities of fireworks that were on top of two parked cars, and arrested Wesley Pereira, 25, of Dorchester, on firearm charges after they found a loaded handgun in his waistband and another on top of the fireworks, police said.

In South Boston Friday night, officers responded to numerous complaints of fireworks near Gavin Way, police said. Officers found a group of people in the St. Peter’s Church parking lot with several packages of fireworks. Members of the group said they were unaware that fireworks are illegal in the state, and officers informed them of potential fines, police said. Officers confiscated the fireworks but no one was charged.

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“[Fireworks] can cause fires and kill people," Boyle said. "They should be left to be used by professionals and certainly not in the city street. It is something we take seriously.”

The mayor appealed to people to heed the law and respect residents.

“Fireworks are disruptive to our neighborhoods and extremely dangerous to our residents and their properties," Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement Sunday afternoon. "I am asking people in Boston to remember that fireworks are illegal in Massachusetts and to stop using them out of respect for their neighbors and their safety.”

People in the West of Washington Street community, like Haile, have called police on numerous occasions.

But when the police arrive, it’s usually too late, one longtime resident said.

“The kids are gone; no one hangs around. So, I think it’s hard for the cops, too,” said Joseph Kirnon, 57, who works in the Boston Municipal Court Roxbury Division.

Kirnon has lived in the neighborhood since he was a child, and the unusual uptick in fireworks is different than anything he’s noticed there before, he said.

“When I was a kid, you'd fire off the fireworks when the sun goes down and you’re done,” he said. “These men start at 10 p.m., stop at 12 a.m., and start back up at 2 a.m. You say to yourself, ‘Come on.’”

“It is a quality-of-life issue for our residents,” Boyle said.

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Haile said his 4-year-old daughter asks him before her afternoon naps: “Daddy, are there going to be fireworks at my nap, too?”

Haile said his first confrontation with the firework users was unproductive — “they basically waved me off when I approached,” he said. The second confrontation was more eventful, with the men swearing at him, he said. Haile had gone over to the house after the fireworks woke up his daughter, again.

He is working with the board of the West of Washington Coalition, a group of neighborhood residents, to draft a formal letter to the firework shooters.

“It’s about how this is affecting the neighborhood,” he said. “There are tons of essential workers, people with little kids.”

One neighbor who is an essential worker, wakes up around 6:45 a.m. after just a few hours of sleep each night.

“It is a nightmare. This is the worst year it’s ever been,” said the neighbor, who requested to speak on the condition of anonymity. “Usually, they start [the fireworks] the week before July 4th.”

Matt Berg can be reached at matthew.berg@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mattberg33.