Indoor fireworks set field on fire at Indianapolis

Last Sunday, November 15, the New England Patriots were playing the Colts at Indianapolis when after a touchdown, the staff of the new 60,000-seat Lucus Oil Stadium set off fireworks inside the facility. And, as frequently happens with fireworks everywhere, they started several small fires in the artificial turf on the field.


An alert Colts staffer put out one of the fires with Gatorade and his sneaker-clad foot.


This is just another example of why fireworks are unsafe, and INDOOR FIREWORKS are insane.

(Note: this is a re-post of an article we originally posted on November 15, but got lost during the recent transitions here at Wildfire Today.)

Firecracker toss costs student $27,000

A college student has been ordered to pay restitution of $27,000 for tossing a firecracker in the Red River Gorge in Kentucky, starting a wildfire which burned 70 acres. The U. S. Forest Services said Jonathon Meyer was camping with friends in the Daniel Boone National Forest when he started the fire with fireworks, then fled without warning other campers or reporting the fire.

Eight others, after agreeing to plea bargins, will pay $6,700 each.

Fires caused by fireworks, part 2

Yesterday we started a list of the fires that were caused by fireworks. Today we are adding to the list as more reports are available.

13. Padre Island, Texas: People with fireworks caused several fires on unoccupied islands in the Laguna Madre. No homes were threatened and the fire department had no boats, so the fires are being allowed to burn until they run out of fuel, which should happen sometime on Sunday.

14. Burbank, Wash.: A fire that may have been started by fireworks burned onto the grounds of a biodiesel plan early Saturday. About 30,000 gallons of vegetable oil spilled during the 3-alarm fire.

15. Canal Winchester, Ohio:Fireworks were the cause of a fire in the 5900 block of Waterloo Road that totally destroyed a barn, according to a report from the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office.Victims said they lit the fireworks and put the remnants in a truck, which they parked in the barn. Between 11:30 p.m. Friday and midnight Saturday, the trash caught fire, consuming the vehicle and then the structure.

The report indicated the barn and items inside appeared to be a total loss.The fire caused an estimated $150,000 in damages.

16. Richland, Wash.: Fireworks are suspected as the cause of a 20-acre fire.

17. Greenwood, Miss.: Investigators believe fireworks were the cause of a fire that destroyed Perry’s Pawn Shot and a vacant building.

18. Tehachapi, Calif.: The City of Tehachapi’s annual 4th of July fireworks display ignited a small grass fire that lit up local airport runways and briefly delayed traffic at the intersection of Tehachapi Boulevard and Dennison Road.

Carin Enovijas photo

Within an hour, the grass fire was contained by local firefighters, with back up units responding from as far away as Mojave, Tehachapi’s Chief of Police Jeff Kermode said. The Tehachapi Police Explorers assisted with traffic control at the scene.

According to Kern County Fire Department’s Public Information Officer Sean Collins, county firefighters responded to 245 incidents within two hours of sundown.

19 & 20. Yakima, Wash.: Two homes were badly damaged by separate fires caused by fireworks.

21. Covington, Wash.: From homes in Covington were damaged by fire Saturday evening when fireworks ignited juniper bushes near one of the homes, the city of Kent reported.

The incident occurred in the 25400 block of 163rd Avenue Southeast when flames leaped from the bushes to ignite the siding of a two-story house. The fire quickly spread to the attic and then into the home.

Firefighters arrived to fight the fire, but sparks spread to three nearby residences, igniting their shake roofs. The fires at two of those houses were put out quickly with only minimal damage to the roofs, but the third house was on an adjacent street and had time to spread before firefighters were notified of the problem.

Firefighters from Kent Fire Department and Maple Valley Fire and Life Safety responded. The warm weather forced firefighters to be rotated out of duty frequently to stay hydrated.

Covington police cited an individual for discharging the fireworks in a dangerous manner, although the fireworks which started the fire were “of the legal type,” according to a spokesman.

22, 23, & 24. Snohomish County, Wash: Three structures burned in separate incidents, all caused by fireworks.

25. Tampa, Florida: Fireworks launched from across the street set a house on fire Sunday afternoon causing about $50,000 in damage.

26. Honolulu, Hawaii: We’ll count this as one fire, but the Honolulu Fire Department responded to 45 fires over the last two days that appear to be fireworks related, a spokesman said in an e-mail this morning.From midnight Thursday to midnight last night, firefighters responded to 26 brush fires, said fire Capt. Terry Seelig. Of those, 19 appear to have been started by fireworks. There were also 28 fires in trash bins or involving rubbish. Fireworks may have started 23 of those fires.

27. Sacramento, Calif.: Investigators believe illegal fireworks may have caused a two-alarm fire that tore through the back of an Oak Park home Saturday night, a Sacramento Fire spokesman said.

Sacramento fire crews arrived to find heavy smoke and flames pouring out of the back of a home on the 3400 block of 12th Avenue around 10:18 p.m. Saturday, Sacramento Fire Capt. Jim Doucette said.

The blaze quickly went to two alarms as approximately 50 firefighters worked to keep the flames from spreading to the house next door. Crews were able to contain the blaze to the single home, which sustained extensive damage before firefighters could fully douse the flames.

Fires caused by fireworks

During the day we will update this post with news about wildfires and serious injuries that are caused by people using fireworks. Tomorrow we will start a separate post as additional news comes in about wildland fires and serious injuries resulting from the abuse of fireworks.

In 2007, 9,800 children and adults nationwide visited hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Eleven died.

And by the way, the annual July 3 fireworks at Mount Rushmore Friday night were launched into fog, and the tens of thousands of spectators could only see vague glows in the mist.

1. Bigfork, Montana. A 1/2 acre wildfire caused by fireworks around noon on Friday.

Firefighters from Bigfork Fire Department and the DNRC talk after extinguishing a blaze on Commerce Street in Bigfork on Friday afternoon. The .5-acre grass fire was started by fireworks. Alex Strickland/Bigfork Eagle

2. Altamonte Springs, Fla. Seminole County fire Lt. David Williams said one person was burned Friday night when fireworks landed in the crowd. The patient was transported to Florida Hospital Altamonte.

3. Salinas, California: Illegal fireworks have started a fire on the roof of an apartment complex in Salinas. It happened just before 11:00 Friday night near West Bernal and Gardenia. Nobody was injured, but people have been evacuated from their homes. No arrests have been made at this time. Fire crews are still investigating.

4. Ocracoke, NC: A truckload of fireworks exploded Saturday morning on a remote North Carolina island dock, killing two workers and critically injuring three others preparing for an Independence Day celebration, authorities said. Two volunteer firemen were transported by Dare Co. EMS to be treated for inhalation and exhaustion.

Sharon Tugwell photo

5. West Valley City, UT: Fireworks may have caused two fires at a mobile-home park in West Valley City early Saturday morning, said assistant Fire Chief Kris Romijn.

One of those fires destroyed a mobile home on the 7000 West block of Arabian Way (2660 South). The blaze started in a car at the home about 12:15 a.m., and two witnesses reported seeing something that looked like fireworks under the car. The fire spread to the home and gutted it, causing between $60,000 and $100,000 worth of damage, including the car. It also caused radiant damage to a nearby home.

6. Hancock, MD: Authorities say a vehicle loaded with fireworks has caught fire near the town of Hancock.Washington County fire department officials say the incident occurred Saturday on eastbound Interstate 70. They say a man apparently had bought fireworks from a stand and reported his vehicle was on fire.

7 and 8. Missoula, MT: The [fireworks-caused] fire, up Deep Creek near the gravel pit, was quickly surrounded by Lolo Hotshots, and units from Frenchtown and Missoula rural fire departments and the state Department of Natural Resource Conservation also responded. The half-acre fire was well on its way to being snuffed out early Saturday evening, said Paula Short, DNRC fire information officer.

“They’ve got it pretty well knocked down, but the Hotshots are going to go ahead and put a line around it,” she said.

The second fire, in a field near Lolo School off U.S. Highway 93 South, was also reported Saturday afternoon and was likewise fireworks-related. Missoula Rural Fire Department responded, and the blaze was quickly put out before reaching any threatening size.

9. Harrah, MT: A young boy set off fireworks in a structure on Friday, it starts a fire and several structures burn, making 19 homeless and causing $800,000 in damages.

10. Fresno, CA: The largest fire in Fresno, CA in decades was started by fireworks–burns three luxury homes.

11. Marysville, WA: A family is left with no home after their house is destroyed on Saturday by a fire caused by fireworks.

12. Kansas City, Kan.: fireworks were the cause of a fire in a duplex at 3306  N. 84th Terrace.

This list of fires caused by fireworks continues HERE.

Fireworks fires have already begun

Yesterday some deputies from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department in northern California were demonstrating the danger of fireworks when the fireworks they set off started a wildfire. Thankfully, firefighters put it out after it burned 5 acres.

Fire caused by Sheriff's Deputies demonstrating danger of fireworks. Photo: KGO-TV

Last year we put together a list of some of the deaths, injuries, and fires caused by July 4, 2008 fireworks.

Here is a graph from the US Fire Administration that shows the daily incidence of “outdoor fires”. Notice the major spike between July 1 and 15 that is no doubt caused by people with fireworks.

Statistics for "outdoor fires"

The U.S. Fire Administration has released some statistics about “outdoor fires” that were compiled from the National Fire Incident Reporting System between 2004 and 2006.  The system uses some very broad categories that in some cases provide little meaningful information, but there are still some interesting tidbits and cool graphics in the report.

For example:

And check out the sharp peak in daily fire occurrence around the first part of July…. probably July 4th, caused by geniuses with fireworks.