Displays of Stupidity: When Fireworks Spark Trouble | True 802 | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Displays of Stupidity: When Fireworks Spark Trouble


Published July 4, 2018 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated December 23, 2018 at 7:25 p.m.


It's the Fourth of July, which means Vermonters may want to shoot off a few rockets in the spirit of patriotism.

But at least one recent display was no celebration. Peter McCusker wanted revenge, according to Vermont State Police, when he allegedly filled a metal barrel with firecrackers, pointed it at his neighbors' bedroom window and lit the fuse around 5 a.m. last week "in an attempt to wake them up and harass them," according to cops. The Thetford man was unhappy with their rooster's habit of crowing early in the morning.

Officers responded to Schoolhouse Hill Road and subsequently arrested McCusker, 61, and cited him for disorderly conduct and possession of fireworks. 

McCusker declined to comment on the explosive incident.

He's not the only alleged fireworks-law breaker. On June 23, state troopers responding to a car crash in Windham discovered illegal pyrotechnics inside a car that had been driven into a ditch. The owner, 18-year-old Jacob Ires, was later cited for possession of fireworks.

On Monday night, cops pulled over a Connecticut man for speeding on Interstate 91 in Guilford and discovered 26 boxes of fireworks in the back of his car. Christopher Randall told police he'd paid $1,000 for his haul, which was promptly confiscated.

State law prohibits people from setting off anything bigger than a 14-inch sparkler without a permit. To get one, you have to fill out an application at least 15 days before you plan to use the fireworks.

Burlington Deputy Police Chief Shawn Burke said pyrotechnics are especially hazardous in a densely populated city such as Burlington. They can injure the person who sets them off and pose a fire hazard. People are prone to using fireworks while consuming alcohol on Independence Day — an especially bad mix, Burke said.

A couple of years ago, Burke said, he attempted to confiscate a Roman candle from a drunken young man, who turned and aimed it at Burke, shooting his police car.