PINEHURST — While it is always a smart idea to dispose of fireworks after they’ve been used, it never hurts to give them a quick spray with a garden hose or a dunk in a bucket of water.
That’s the message the Shoshone County Fire District No. 2 Chief Mark Aamodt is spreading after fire crews responded to a structure fire on July 4 in Pinehurst.
It was just after 10 p.m. that crews received the call of two neighboring garages on Grubich Road burning and threatening an attached living area as well.
Firefighters, who were already responding to a false alarm call in Kellogg, quickly made it to the blaze and got to work.
Due in part to the efforts of a neighbor who saw the fire and hit them with the contents of fire extinguishers, the flames were completely relegated to the two garages that were separated by a small alleyway.
Crews got to work putting out the blaze shortly after determining that no one was in danger.
When the fires were out, fans were then set up to limit the amount of smoke damage inside the home portion of the structure. The fire on the attached garage was extinguished before it could spread to the living area.
Following interviews with witnesses and a quick investigation, Chief Aamodt concludes that the cause of the blaze was improper (but also accidental) disposal of used fireworks.
“It had been two teenage girls using fireworks in a good manner and they were doing a good thing by cleaning up their mess,” he said. “They took those fireworks that had been used and put them in a trash can thinking they were cool enough and they were not. They didn’t douse them, soak them or anything like that before putting them in the trash.”
After cleaning up, the girls placed the used firework-filled trash can in a small 6- to 8-foot alleyway between a standalone garage and a garage attached to the home.
A short time later, the smoldering fireworks proceeded to ignite the other trash in the bin, the bin itself, then the neighboring structures.
It is estimated the incident caused roughly $8,000 to $10,000 worth of damage. No vehicles were in the garages at the time of the fire.
When it came to determining the cause, Aamodt was proud of the honesty from the girl involved that he spoke with.
“When I asked the girl what happened, she was completely honest and forthright. It’s just nice when people aren’t afraid to say that they made a mistake.”
While we are now past the date of main firework usage, the message from Aamodt about making sure your fireworks are completely out also applies to campfires or wood burning stoves as well.
In order to reduce the risk of wildland or structure fires, it is vital to ensure that all types of fires and pyrotechnics are dead out. This can be done simply by soaking these things with water and/or covering them with earth.