Featured Health & Environment Police & Fire

Fireworks Chaos at the Gassy, DeFilippo Playground

Boston Police and Fire Departments responded when procession fireworks caused a trash fire early on Sunday evening at the park on Prince Street in the North End, known as the Gassy and DeFilippo Playground. The display was set off as part of the religious procession in honor of Madonna della Grazie. Complaints quickly rolled in to 311 from concerned neighbors.

Video by David Goggins

Illegal fireworks. A-1 was here and did nothing. A firework HIT A CHILD. One went haywire and almost hit the man lighting it off. This is not safe. What will it take?? There is a dog park RIGHT there. Scares them. Hit a child. I mean it’s ridiculous. (Anonymous 311 Complaint)

Trash barrel at defillippo playground on prince street is smoking and appears to have been lit on fire. Please assess situation.
(Anonymous 311 Complaint)

The trash fire was out when time Boston Fire arrived, though charred a nearby tree. Resident Janine Coppola shares these photos of the trash left behind saying, “This is awful!  Whoever lit fireworks in the Gassy today should have been considerate and swept up the debris left behind. There are burnt out fireworks all over the tot lot, the swing set area, and the basketball court (which also has a nasty burn mark at center court). Not okay folks! What is it to bring a trash bag, a few brooms, and a few volunteers from your group to sweep up the mess!”

Another 311 complaint said, “Mid-day fireworks at the playground? Must be in connection with one of these great weekly parades.” It was closed with the remark, “Case noted.”

34 Replies to “Fireworks Chaos at the Gassy, DeFilippo Playground

  1. Residue from the firework made it to my roof and neighbors roof. Nothing hot this time. But in the past still burning parts of fireworks did make it to my roof. If I was not home a fire could easily been started. Did they have permit to set off fireworks within residential area, in park where kids play? If so who signed off? If not fine the society. There was police detail leading the procession. Did the officers think what was happening was OK? Aren’t they trained to assess dangerous situation?

  2. There were papers from the fireworks in my plantar and blowing around on Cleveland Pl. There was so much smoke that I could barely see the building across from me. I know it is a decades long tradition with all the processions but this was RIDICULOUS. They could have started a roof fire or a trash fire on Snow Hill St or Cleveland PL since it was after 5 PM and people were already putting out trash.

  3. The fireworks did in fact start a trash fire in the park, charring a nearby tree that could have easily caught fire. Fireworks without a permit are 100% illegal due to the obvious public safety danger. Setting them off in a children’s playground is beyond irresponsible, and the procession organizers should be held accountable. No parade permits should be granted to any organization, religious or otherwise, without guarantees that they will not be lighting off fireworks in the neighborhood. Failure to comply should carry strict penalties, such as an automatic denial of future permits.

  4. Yes Feasts and processions are a long tradition that I enjoy & have been personally involved with over many years. But public safety is and should ALWAYS be the number one priority. I join in on the criticism and ask that the society’s address the use of fireworks before someone is injured . I do not want to lose these traditions but I can understand people being upset.

  5. Oh stop it new snowflakes we been doing this for year’s ok I know 100% if this happened too happen on st Anthony u all would not say a word ok

    1. I have been living here for THIRTY FIVE YEARS. The people who set off these fireworks on Sunday night were inconsiderate and irresponsible and caused damage to the park. There is NO reason for ANYONE to set off so many fireworks, cause a fire , damage the basketball court surface and leave a mess. You don’t live here and you have a whole lot of nerve calling anyone who lives here and was/is concerned about public safety a snowflake if they are newcomers , long time residents or have lived here since 1776.

      1. Joyce the society Madonna Della Grazie has done that every year in the gassy did you not hear them last year or the year before. St Agrippina even did a display there last August!

        1. I hear all the fireworks including the non society really loud bomb ones that people set off in the Gassy for no reason there is a difference between a display and just setting off blankets of fireworks that do nothing but generate noise, smoke, and flying debris. EVERY society sets off fireworks in the Gassy. The ones set off this past Sunday were the worst ever. My hearing is just fine thank you.

    2. I agree with Joyce on this. Frank, please try to be less dismissive and use more punctuation. Also, perhaps some original thought, cupcake. 🙂

      1. Need some clarification, want to know what exactly is a “snowflake?” Must have missed that one but I’ve been called worse. 😁

        1. OMG I wonder that same thing all the time. I’m always wondering if I should feel offended if someone calls me that. LOL!

    3. I agree with Frank. The feasts have been lighting fireworks since before we were all born. It’s tradition! If you don’t like it move to Cambridge!

      1. House fire in Dorchester due to fireworks hitting the house. This is a disaster waiting to happen. What do fireworks have to do with a religious procession? What’s the significance?

        I love the feasts and the processions but no need for fireworks. Too much can go wrong…I don’t care if it’s been done for 100,000 years. Sometimes common sense should prevail.

        1. what does fireworks hVe to do with a relegious procession ? Evidently, you never been to Italy, when the towns are celebrating the same relegious processions. There are much more serious things owing on in the North End to be concerned about.

      2. Sal – If fireworks are such an integral part of religious processions, than the Societies sponsoring these events should apply for legal fireworks permits, which would specify where they can be safely set off and require the presence of a BFD detail. Unauthorized fireworks displays are extremely dangerous and should never be tolerated in the North End.

        1. Dan G i’m sure they do get permits they get the routes from city hall so i believe they do get a permit too for displays. And not every single procession does fireworks. Della Grazie and St Anthony’s that’s about it.

          1. They get permits for the procession, not for the fireworks. There is no where in the north end that fits the requirements for space needed to put off fireworks, and they legally have to be set off by professionals with the fire department there. Yes these have gone off for the last few years- started as the red crackers and have processed. For most of July the Sunday professions have been accompanied by these fireworks displays. Boston police respond too late to the calls.

            At the end of the day- no one is saying they don’t like fireworks, what they are saying is that this has become dangerous. Whether it’s tradition or not- there are no licenses for these fireworks and people are concerned for their safety. A child was hit and remnants were found smoldering in wood roof tops. How can you not think this is a safety issue?

        2. You mean the BPD officers who don’t get out of their cars doing the detail for the processions ? And they screw up more traffic doing nothing. Permits? I’m all for permits. People should be forced to get permits , so they can put garbage in paper bags or to small of a bag to hold the garbage and the rats, who are not afraid of people can eat legally. Drunken homeless people and junkies should be force to get a permit to make the North End the future second Roxbury, that’s not very far off and your worried about fireworks.

      3. This is the first one that burned up a park and nearly set fire to surrounding building. Look at this way, more episodes like this and you can bet their will be more scruntinty over feast activities.

  6. ‘…“We” ??? been doing this for year’s’? Not sure who the “We” refers to Frank, but just to be clear…MY point was: Causing permanent damage to the Gassy and leaving behind a whole lot of nasty burnt debris is absolutely NOT Ok. I don’t care if it’s Agrippina, Anthony, DellaCava, DellaGrazia, Del’Soccorso, diAnzano, Gennaro, Joseph, Lucy, Pio, Rocco, Rosalie, or ANYONE else…“We” should be more considerate of “Our” neighborhood park and all of the kids who use the basketball court, the tot lot, and the swing set, on a daily basis! Just my humble opinion.

  7. First of all posession of fireworks and/or transporting fireworks to the state of MA is illegal. For special events a licensed professional must be present and oversee the use of fireworks .I doubt the City of Boston would grant a permit to should off fireworks for a religious procession. And over the many years that I attended Feasts and processions (and I still do) I can guarantee that the members of the societies setting off fireworks are not licensed professionals.

  8. The 311 and people that say a child was hit are not correct. I was there and a father / child moved away but were not injured in any way. And the tree never caught fire either. Im not saying there wasn’t risk and i don’t think they should be setting off such big fireworks either but just to get the facts straight about what happened.

    1. Yes Patty exactly what I saw too the father (a member and his kid) running away I took a video of the display. Everything you mentioned is correct.

    2. I am the person who called 911 for the trashcan fire – a man went out with water to extinguish what he could and there were leaves hanging over the trashcan on fire when he went over.

      The little boy was rubbing his leg when he was in the middle of prince street. the firework that hit the fence, then finally exploded when it hit the ground did hit him…maybe not the full firework, but a piece of it did hit him.

    3. Really makes no difference but thanks for setting the record straight. Bottom line, fireworks of any kind shouldn’t be part of any procession nor feast unless they are being done in an open area and by a pyrotechnic professional. There’s a reason they are illegal in MA.

  9. Chaos ? Who owns this site now , CNN ? That’s a little bit over the top don’t you think. Have you seen the North End in the last ten years or so ? There is so much more to be concerned about, a lot more then statements on this page is not going to change at all. I get the issue, I do, but that is the least of the problems of the North End. And 311, come on folks, how many issues the city did not address and have not address. So many remarked on this issue, filming from your window or roof deck. I’ll take a little fireworks, then the many uncapped needles I see, right on the sidewalks. What happens if a child picked one up or your dog stepped on one. It’s not pretty what that child would have to go through. Again, I get the issue, what some of you folks are way over the top on this. It wasn’t a murder, it was a robbery where someone were beaten. And the robbery part is a monthly occurrence in the North End now a days. But chaos !!, no, shootings that occur in the other Boston neighborhoods is normal chaos. I’ll take five minutes of fireworks anyday.

  10. let’s also talk about the dog park right there, where dogs were playing. imagine one of them getting burned by a firework as well?

    1. I didn’t see any dogs there during the quick display, actually dog crap is one of the many things the NE should be worry about too.

  11. “Crap” haha. You must have a large vocabulary.
    There is plenty of rubbish and debris in this neighborhood, notwithstanding the “crap”. Everyone could do better.

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