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Hyde Park, Woodlawn, South Shore

With Chicago’s Official Fireworks Canceled, Neighbors Staged Rogue Displays — And Complaints Quadrupled

VIDEO & PHOTOS: There were 18,854 calls between Jan. 1 and July 5, compared to just 4,338 calls during the same period last year.

Chicagoans set off fireworks in Lincoln Park in Chicago on July 4, 2020.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — In the wake of coronavirus, the city canceled official fireworks celebrations on Fourth of July weekend.

But that didn’t stop neighbors from staging rouge displays on streets and in yards across the city Friday and Saturday night.

Fireworks-related calls to 911 more than quadrupled this year. There were 18,854 calls between Jan. 1 and early July 5, compared to just 4,338 calls during the same period last year, said Mary May, spokesperson with the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Though illegal in Illinois, backyard fireworks displays around the Fourth of July have been been common in Chicago for years — part of life in the city.

But rogue fireworks were reported this summer much more than in years past. Ahead of Fourth of July, calls for fireworks-related complaints were up more than 736 percent, city officials said.

Sales at border-state fireworks shops were significantly up as industry retailers are bracing for a record-breaking year, too. At one shop, sales tripled.

The cancellation of municipal fireworks shows as well as boredom over the last few months as people have been cooped up because of coronavirus may have led to the increase of “backyard fireworks,” said Julie Heckman, executive director of the American Pyrotechnics Association.

Block Club photographer Colin Boyle captured neighbors celebrating in South Shore Friday night and Lincoln Park and the Near West Side Saturday night.

Watch his video below.

See more of Colin’s photos below.

Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chicagoans set off fireworks in Lincoln Park in Chicago on July 4, 2020.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chicagoans set off fireworks in Lincoln Park in Chicago on July 4, 2020.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chicagoans set off fireworks in Lincoln Park in Chicago on July 4, 2020.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chicagoans set off fireworks in Lincoln Park in Chicago on July 4, 2020.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chicagoans set off fireworks across the city throughout the night, as seen from the Near West Side in Chicago on July 4, 2020.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chicagoans set off fireworks across the city throughout the night, as seen from the Near West Side in Chicago on July 4, 2020.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chicagoans set off fireworks across the city throughout the night, as seen from the Near West Side in Chicago on July 4, 2020.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Summer Turner poses for a photo with sparklers in South Shore on July 3, 2020.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Neighbors in South Shore set off fireworks and use sparklers on July 3, 2020.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Neighbors in South Shore set off fireworks and use sparklers on July 3, 2020.
Credit: Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
Chicagoans set off fireworks in Lincoln Park in Chicago on July 4, 2020.