GLENDALE, Ariz. — Independence Day is a popular holiday, but that doesn't mean it's without risks. As much fun as fireworks are, they're still pyrotechnics that need to be handled with care.
Officials with the Glendale Fire Department announced Monday morning that they had dealt with four fires in less than 12 hours, three of which are believed to have been caused by fireworks.
Homes on West Seldon Lane, West Stella Avenue, and West Yucca street were damaged by fireworks, and six people have been displaced because of it.
On Seldon Lane, just after 9 p.m., neighbors called to report that a nearby garage was on fire, officials said.
Fire crews found large amounts of flame consuming the garage and back patio. Although crews were able to extinguish the flames through high heat and heavy smoke, the home was extensively damaged.
Three people and three dogs were in the home and managed to safely escape from the fire. No firefighters were injured, but officials reported that one person needed medical assistance.
That person did not need to be taken to the hospital.
Fire investigators found that the fire was firework-related, and started on the back patio before moving to the garage and home.
Minutes after the call went out for this fire, another fire was reported on Stella Avenue around 9:20 p.m. on the front porch of a home.
The family told firefighters they were setting off fireworks in front of their house and when they finished, they put the used fireworks in a box on their front patio and then went inside. The family said the box caught on fire burning their front wall by the door. The family tells 12 News they put the fire out with a hose. The fire department said the fire was out before they arrived and no one was displaced.
Finally, just after midnight, crews responded to a call for a trash can fire that had spread to a small house's back patio. Officials said they were able to contain the fire to the back of the home.
However, the family of three that lived there will still be displaced due to damages.
Once again, officials found that the fire had been started by improperly disposed of fireworks.
No injuries were reported, but all three fires could have been prevented.
According to Arizona law, the only legal fireworks are actually firecrackers and ground explosives. Sparklers are also legal, as are those spinning sparklers on the ground.
The key phrase is "on the ground."
Arizona law prohibits any fireworks that are launched in the air. That goes for the large fireworks that you see at permitted, legal shows. But it also includes things like bottle rockets.
How to stay safe
The National Safety Council recommends the following practices when using legal fireworks:
- Never allow young children to handle fireworks
- Older children should use them only under close adult supervision
- Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol
- Anyone using fireworks or standing nearby should wear protective eyewear
- Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands
- Never light them indoors
- Only use them away from people, houses and flammable material
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person
- Only light one device at a time and maintain a safe distance after lighting
- Never ignite devices in a container
- Do not try to re-light or handle malfunctioning fireworks
- Soak both spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before discarding
- Keep a bucket of water nearby to fully extinguish fireworks that don't go off or in case of fire
- Never use illegal fireworks
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