Fourth of July fireworks sparked two house fires in New Haven overnight, according to New Haven fire officials.
Fire officials said the blaze at 17 Walnut Street in New Haven started around 12:30 a.m. The residents woke up and ran when they realized the building was on fire. All the occupants of the multi-family home made it out safely.
“All we know was the house just went up… It was a matter of ten minutes the house was engulfed in flames. Everything,” said resident Lisa Sari.
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Firefighters arrived and declared a second-alarm. The fire raged for about an hour, causing serious damage to the house and also spreading next door.
Fire officials said a barrel of fireworks was left next to the home and caught fire. Officials said that it appears that while the fire was caused by a careless disposal of fireworks, they don’t believe it was intentionally set.
While firefighters battled the blaze on Walnut Street, other crews were fighting a fire on Woolsey Street. The damage was no as significant as on Walnut Street, but it still caused a scare.
Fire officials say playing with fireworks should always be taken seriously and the materials should be carefully discarded, even if it appears they’ve gone out. The fireworks that led to both fires were legal, but were not disposed of properly.
“It’s just like a cigarette sometimes when people think they’re out and they put them in a trash can. They start a fire. You have to be conscious of that. That’s why we recommend that you do soak them in water and soak them in a metal can overnight,” said Assistant Chief Mark Vendetto of the New Haven Fire Department.
Investigators have not determined whether any charges will be filed.