Neighbor boy sounds alert when fireworks ignite brush fire

ST. GEORGE — Children playing with fireworks in a restricted area of St. George learned a valuable lesson Sunday evening after firefighters were called out to what they thought would be a house fire.

Firefighters respond to brush fire in residential neighborhood stated by fireworks, St. George, Utah, July 24, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Firefighters respond to a brush fire started by fireworks in a residential neighborhood, St. George, Utah, July 24, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Just after 8 p.m. firefighters responded to 1711 E. 1150 North in St. George, Battalion Chief Robert Hooper of the St. George Fire Department said.

As the fire crews arrived they could see a heavy amount of smoke billowing from a section of dense bushes in front of the residence.

“This initially came in as a house fire,” Hooper said, “but once we arrived we realized that was just not the case.”

Firefighters found the fire was nearly out because neighbors had rushed to help extinguish it.

Firefighters began soaking the smoldering area with water while knocking down the rest of the embers. Only one engine was needed, the battalion chief said.

After talking with the neighborhood children and a family member who was caring for one of the youngsters, Hooper said he learned the fire was caused by one of the children playing with fireworks.

Apparently one of the children lit a ground bloom flower firework and tossed it in the direction of the street. Instead of landing in the roadway it landed in the bushes located just below the house, one of the children said.

The fire started immediately, according to one witness, and spread quickly.

Ground bloom flower fireworks are ground spinners that release colorful sparks as they turn, according to TNT Fireworks. 

Cassius Sanchez alerted his father to the fire in residential neighborhood stated by fireworks, St. George, Utah, July 24, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News
Cassius Sanchez alerted his father to a fire in his residential neighborhood that was started by fireworks, St. George, Utah, July 24, 2016 | Photo by Cody Blowers, St. George News

Cassius Sanchez, who was playing a few hundred feet away at the time, said he noticed a fire growing in the bushes and ran to alert his father, Eddie Sanchez. The man immediately grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran toward the smoke billowing from the area as his wife called 911.

The fire extinguisher had little effect on what was turning into a blaze, Sanchez said, so he hit the flames with water in an attempt to contain it until firefighters responded.

Several neighborhood children were outside as firefighters arrived, one parent said. Hooper made it a point to speak to all of the children involved to make certain they understood lighting off fireworks is not only dangerous, but illegal where they live.

“They told us we live in a restricted area,” Dakota Young said, “and we can’t light any fireworks here.”

Hooper cautioned the community to make sure they are aware of the fireworks restrictions currently in place.

“Even lighting legal fireworks in a restricted area is prohibited,” the battalion chief said.

Fireworks restrictions for St. George include: No fireworks of any kind are to be used within 250 feet of the following areas – dry washes and drainages, river and stream corridors, hillsides, plateaus and mesa tops, undeveloped space or natural terrain.

For surrounding areas, read Fireworks 101: Legal in your city? by St. George News Reporter Ric Wayman.

Fireworks safety tips are listed on the City of St. George website.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

 

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3 Comments

  • hiker75 July 26, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Why are fireworks are permitted anywhere in this tinderbox, I mean county?

  • Kristi July 26, 2016 at 8:47 pm

    I’d like to know why they had fireworks where the kids could get to them? And why if the parents had them in an illegal area and weren’t setting them off there before, why did they still have them??? Hummm sounds like mom and dad aren’t to innocent themselves… See kids you don’t always know what you’re doing just because you watched mom or dad light um and throw um… I hope a very valuable lesson was learned!!!

  • RealMcCoy July 27, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    What??
    No arson charges?
    No restricted fireworks charges?
    Nothing??

    Well GOOD! St. George cops need to stop slapping dumb charges on anything and everything.
    Kids will be kids, whether it’s fireworks in a restricted area, or kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.
    The parents should have gotten a good talking to as well, though.

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