We often hear about accidents involving fireworks at this time of year. Inevitably, we’ll read about someone losing a home due to the many exploding rockets landing in places where they shouldn’t. However, we tend to think that it can’t happen to us. We’re cautious, right? We follow proper safety procedures. We don’t shoot them towards homes or businesses. The problem is, though, that not everyone cares enough to even think about these things. Such was the case two years ago when my Community Manager Kat nearly lost her home.
Kat was inside working on some things for me late that night just before the holiday when she heard a lot of popping noises outside. She sighed and went to check… seeing the kids from down the block once again shooting off various fireworks in the parking lot of the strip mall across the street. Sadly, Indiana doesn’t have a law against this. The police refused to do anything about it. About a half an hour later, she heard sirens that sounded awfully close. She opened the door to be greeted by smoke pouring from the roof of the buildings across the street. The pet store, fireworks store and tax service office were on fire.
As you can see from that video footage, this was a devastating fire. It was quite dangerous since there are houses (including hers) so close to where those stores stood. It was horrible due to the fact that there were more than a hundred animals in that pet store waiting to be adopted into loving homes… including new baby kittens. None of the animals survived. Since there was a fireworks store attached to the pet store, the fire chief felt it was too dangerous to send men inside to attempt a rescue.
In this next short video clip, you can hear the sheer terror and panic in her voice as the fire finally made its way inside the fireworks store. You can hear her yell that the windows are about to blow. Just a few seconds before that, she saw what she described as a “huge fireball” come from the back of the store… right out through the window she was facing. She saw fiery debris landing on her home, and was about to have a panic attack.
Thankfully, no one was injured and all homes in the area were spared – including Kat’s. It was later determined by investigators that the fireworks the kids were shooting off in the parking lot did, indeed, cause this massive fire. One of the rockets landed on the roof of the pet store, smoldering there and quickly sparking.
It CAN happen to you, no matter how careful you or anyone around you is. I urge you to use extreme caution and care when playing with fireworks. The next unnecessary explosion could be your home.
Have a happy – and SAFE – Fourth of July.