Consumer Fireworks Determined Cause of Fire Damaging Multiple Structures E-mail
A fire that destroyed two garages and damaged 8 other adjacent homes yesterday on Grand Rapids’ southwest side was caused by carelessly discharged fireworks. The fire at 741 London SW caused more than $32,000 in fire damage and required more than 20 firefighters to extinguish. No one was reportedly hurt during the incident.

Neighbors reported children discharging “bottle rockets” from a house located on Lynch St SW during the morning prior to the fire. Fire investigators have determined that the fire was started by the fireworks landing in dry tinder near detached garages to the southeast of the area that the fireworks were launched. GRPD detectives are continuing to work on a possible criminal destruction of property case.

Bottle rockets, small mortars, roman candles, firecrackers, and other fireworks (known as consumer fireworks) have been legally sold and possessed in the State of Michigan since January 1, 2012. State law prohibits igniting, discharging, or using consumer fireworks on public property (such as streets and parks), school property, church property, or private property without the express written consent of the owner. It also prohibits the sale of consumer fireworks to a minor, and the use of any type of fireworks while under the influence of alcohol and/or controlled substances.

State law also allows local governments to enact ordinances limiting the use of consumer fireworks to the day before, the day of, and the day after national holidays. Grand Rapids officials are currently considering the passage of such an ordinance. The Grand Rapids City Commission will be considering the implementation on Tuesday June 19th.

Carelessly used consumer fireworks are responsible for disfiguring and disabling accidents (many to children) every year, as well as for destructive structure and wild land fires. The Grand Rapids Fire Department wants to remind citizens of safe practices while using consumer fireworks:

Never allow children to use fireworks unsupervised
Never hold a lit firework in your hand
Do not discharge rockets or mortars in high density neighborhoods
In dry weather conditions, do not launch or discharge fireworks


Deputy Fire Chief Gerard Salatka stated, “The use of commercial fireworks in high density areas will most likely cause more fires of this type, especially with the dry weather conditions we are experiencing.”

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Published June 14, 2012
 
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