Society

Investigators: Teen's Fireworks Burned Neighbor's Home

| by Michael Doherty
A pile of unlit firecrackersA pile of unlit firecrackers

A family's home in Washington burned down on July 2, after investigators said a teen accidentally shot fireworks into the house.

Kathy Heller, who had lived in the Graham, Washington, house for 15 years, has been left homeless and lost almost everything she owned, according to Fox News. "The pictures that I had of my husband who passed away - all gone," she said.

Heller, who was out at dinner when the fire started, said that she saw firefighters on the street, but assumed that they weren't at her house. "At first I thought it was a neighbor’s house until I realized it was mine," she said. "It was very scary and we had two dogs in the house but luckily our neighbors were able to kick the door in and get our dogs out."

"You don't realize it until happens to you how really dangerous it is," Heller said of the tragic fireworks incident.

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Firefighters said that the fire started on the side of the house and quickly spread into the attic. "It rapidly spread, and when we got here, we had a pretty involved attic fire at the time," Graham Fire & Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Steve Richards told Fox News.

Firefighters at the Graham Fire Dept. said that the fire could have been easily avoided, the same as many fireworks-related injuries and fires.

The National Council On Fireworks Safety has issued guidelines aiming to avoid fireworks-related incidents. The NCFS recommends using fireworks only outdoors and away from buildings and vehicles, as well as keeping a bucket of water and a working hose nearby when igniting them.

The safety tips also advise against drinking while shooting fireworks, and against relighting a "dud" firework, instead suggesting waiting 20 minutes and placing it in a bucket of water.

The NCFS recommends only lighting one firework at a time and quickly moving away, as well as wearing safety glasses when lighting fireworks. Their guidelines also advise that spent fireworks should be disposed of by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trash can away from any buildings.

Sources: Fox News, National Council on Fireworks Safety / Photo credit: Andre Hofmeister/Flickr

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