BARNEGAT, NJ - Local residents were already disappointed when news broke that the Township's annual firework display was moved from the docks to the high school.  Amid the pandemic, they were canceled. Nonetheless, "unofficial" boomers had plenty of animals and humans hovering for shelter last night. Some brush off the loud noise as the "sound of freedom."

According to a social media message posted by the Barnegat Police Department, officers have responded to 64 fireworks complaints since the beginning of the month.  The majority of the loud noises were reported last night between 8 pm and 9:30 pm. Overall, there were 38 complaints yesterday, of which 28 reportedly occurred between those early hours. That leaves at least 10 more that occurred outside that time frame.

"Depending on the circumstances, several individuals were charged with either possession or use of illegal fireworks," shared Barnegat Chief Keith Germain.  

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According to NJSA 21:3-8, individuals charged with illegal possession or use of fireworks could be found guilty of a petty disorderly persons offense. The maximum fine for this type of offense is $500 and up to 30 days in jail.

The Barnegat Police Department shared maps depicting the origin of the complaints. One is a heat map representing the concentration of fireworks calls over the last four days. The other has a "P" flag on each location of a fireworks complaint over the same period.

During the same four-day period last year, the Barnegat Police Department only had one fireworks complaint. 

Barnegat Police Department will be out tonight proactively patrolling for fireworks violations.

While not local, a person died in Jersey City last night in conjunction with an illegal fireworks display.