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Illegal fireworks the cause of 2 Utah fires

By Alex Cabrero | Posted - Jul. 3, 2011 at 7:47 p.m.


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SALT LAKE CITY -- Fire officials have been watching closely over the weekend as new fireworks laws were put into practice. However, fireworks have already been the cause of two big fires this weekend.

One fire in the Daybreak community severely burned a garage after a fireworks show got out of hand.

Officials say an illegal firework veered off course from a nearby field and flew into the garage, where it ignited other fireworks still in the garage.

"It was one of the more dramatic house fires I've ever seen," said witness Steve Rodgers, who captured video of the fire. "There were people standing around saying get back, get back. But there were fireworks going off inside the garage and flames rolling out through the garage door."

A father and a 10-year-old son watching the fireworks show were hit by pieces shooting out of control. Both were transported to a local hospital.

People using illegal fireworks also started a brush fire along Ogden's east bench last night. The fire burned close to a residential area, but was extinguished before reaching nearby homes.

"They felt this was a safe area to light fireworks," said Deputy Chief Chad Tucker of the Ogden Fire Department. "The very first firework they ignited and immediately cause a brush fire."

Nearby resident Sujata Kaushal saw the flames spreading rapidly toward her home.

"It was pretty scary," she said. "We had to stay at someone else's house because we were afraid our house would burn down.

Only a couple of acres were burned, but residents said, even though the fireworks were illegal, they're worried about the new law for fireworks and what the next three weeks will bring.

"You just think, ‘How is this happening? Who could allow this? Should we have done something, and what can we do?' " said Ogden resident Lauren Lund.

Utah's new law allows residents to use legal fireworks throughout the month of July, including aerial fireworks, which were previously banned from the state.

Fire officials said to contact the local fire department immediately if someone is lighting off illegal fireworks near your home.

Email: acabrero@ksl.com

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