Our Northwest

Despite bans, fireworks caused many 2015 fires

Wednesday, June 29, 2016by  Jon Osterberg
July 4 is just days away, and being an insurance company, naturally we’re warning residents how to protect their homes from fireworks.
     Understand, this isn’t just overly cautious insurance speak. Each year serious damage stems from revelers lighting illegal fireworks or using “safe and sane” fireworks carelessly.
     Washington’s fire marshal said yesterday that fireworks caused 240 fires in 2015, with 80% of those involving wildlands and vegetation.
     Last summer, a man discharged fireworks that started a grass fire near Alderwood Mall, despite fireworks being banned in Lynnwood. In Puyallup, four acres of grass and brush burned in under five minutes near Rogers High School.
     But there were far worse than grass fires.
     Illegal fireworks ignited the roof of a Federal Way home and burned through to the second story, shooting 20-foot flames into the air. A family of nine was displaced.
     In Clark County, fireworks ignited a duplex near Vancouver, causing $400,000 in damage. Two homes and a shed burned in Milwaukie last July when fireworks were improperly placed in a plastic bin.
     Fireworks are banned in Tacoma, yet they caused 50 fires around Independence Day last year, according to the Tacoma Fire Department.
     Despite that, the Northwest appears safer today than it was before cities and counties began banning fireworks. Check out this 1985 Spokesman-Review article that noted two deaths and 260 fireworks-caused fires in the Spokane area alone.

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