Fire ignited by spent Fourth of July fireworks destroys Gilbert house

Jul 5, 2023, 9:02 AM

File photo of Gilbert Fire and Rescue response. Extinguished Fourth of July fireworks ignited an ov...

(Facebook File Photo/Gilbert Fire and Rescue)

(Facebook File Photo/Gilbert Fire and Rescue)

PHOENIX – Spent Fourth of July fireworks ignited an overnight fire that destroyed a Gilbert house, authorities said Wednesday morning.

The family escaped unharmed after recently repaired smoke detectors woke them up, but a pet dog perished in the blaze, Deputy Chief Mark Justice of Gilbert Fire and Rescue told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Justice said the house was beyond saving by the time firefighters were dispatched to the scene near Val Vista Drive and Williams Field Road just after midnight.

“Our efforts were guided toward containing it to that home of origin and keeping it from spreading to the adjacent homes on the sides and behind it,” Justice said.

Justice said the family celebrated the holiday with legal fireworks and thought they’d properly disposed of them before going to bed.

“They had extinguished them, put them in a bucket for a little bit of time, a couple minutes, took them out of the bucket, [and] they were cool to the touch,” he said.

How did extinguished fireworks start the house fire?

The family then put the fireworks in a garbage can that was against the side of the house.

“At some point after they had gone to sleep, that trashcan caught fire,” Justice said. “That fire spread up the side of their house into their attic space, and, fortunately for them, their smoke detectors woke them up, gave them just enough time to get out.”

There was so much smoke that the parents couldn’t see with the lights on, Justice said. But they were able to get their kids outside safely and call 911.

“Those smoke detectors had not been working as of recent,” Justice said. “They just got them repaired, got them back up in working order, and [that] 100% is the reason why that family got out of that house.”

How to dispose of Fourth of July fireworks

Justice said the family did most things right after using the fireworks, but experts recommend additional precautions that weren’t taken.

“Get some kind of nonflammable metal container that you can soak them in for a minimum of 24 hours and store that container isolated away from any flammable items, like your home or a car or vegetation or anything like that,” he said.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Patricia Valencia contributed to this report.

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Fire ignited by spent Fourth of July fireworks destroys Gilbert house