Firefighters tackled handful of fireworks-related fires on 4th of July
Hopefully you had the opportunity to safely enjoy watching fireworks somewhere on Independence Days. The Spokane Fire Department said that here in Spokane it was fairly quiet, but that doesn't mean there weren't any firework-related incidents.
Thursday afternoon, in fact, the fire department believes a small brush fire was started by someone who threw a firework from a moving vehicle near a vacant home on Courtland Avenue just off Monroe. The resulting fire jumped the street and created a very credible threat to homes on the Monroe hill.
"It makes us want to stay here with a sprinkler on my roof instead of going out," Christopher Helm, who lives right next to the vacant property where the fire started, said.
Helm said his neighbor saw a white pickup in the area before the fire.
"Pulled up alongside our house and throw a … she said it had to be an M-80 or larger," Helm said.
"The cause of the fire is still under investigation but so far we know that those were purposefully set fires reportedly set by fireworks that were launched from a vehicle," Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer said investigators have different descriptions for the suspect vehicle, but asked that any suspicious activity in the area be reported.
As for preventing the fire from reaching homes, it was the rapid response by firefighters that saved the day.
"Our focus initially was just at stopping the fire and protecting the homes which was successful," Schaeffer said.
Schaeffer said that aside from this incident there were several other small brush fires reported the 4th of July was fair quiet. Only eight tickets were issued in the city for fireworks violations.
"Overall it was pretty successful," Schaeffer said.
But the fires the crews had to knock down Thursday were definitely sign that fire season has arrived.
"It just really highlights just how dry it is out there," Schaeffer said. "I think a lot of us are in the business of taking for granted the amount of moisture that we have had was going to delay our early start of fire season, and I think we are there especially in the lighter fuels."
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