LEWISTON — Although most towns’ Fourth of July fireworks shows were canceled this year, “bombs bursting in air” were largely present in Lewiston-Auburn as many residents created their own displays.

Both the Lewiston and Auburn Police Departments reported significant increases in the number of complaints they received this year.

In Lewiston alone, 88 calls were made to the police about fireworks beginning in the evening of the fourth, to the early hours of July 5. This is four times the number of complaints received in 2019, and more than five times the amount recorded in 2018.

From 5 p.m. on July 3 to midnight on July 5, Auburn police received fewer complaints than the Lewiston police over a longer span of time. However, similar to Lewiston, the number of reports during this time was greater than in recent years.

Fifty-three Auburn residents reported firework violations this year. This is more than double the number of complaints the police received during the same time period in the past two years combined.

More than half of the complaints in Auburn were made on the night of July 4.

“The substantial increase in fireworks and fireworks-related calls for this year is attributed to the cancellation of local fireworks displays coupled with the holiday falling on a weekend,” Auburn Deputy Police Chief Timothy Cougle said in an email.

Fireworks are only permitted in specific discharge zones in Lewiston three days of the year: Independence Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. In Auburn, fireworks are strictly prohibited throughout the year.

Of the 88 calls Lewiston received, just nine people received court summonses. Auburn police issued three citations.

While this may not seem like a large number compared to the number of complaints, Lewiston police Lt. David St. Pierre explained that it can be difficult to hold residents accountable.

He explained that when police arrive at the scene, the perpetrators have often already left. Even if they catch people still on site, the police need proof they were the ones to discharge the fireworks.

Violators face a fine of $115 in Lewiston for a first offense, and up to $400 in Auburn.

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