First responders are warning the public about the dangers of fireworks, which have become a standard component of Fourth of July celebrations. There are around 19,500 fires caused by pyrotechnics annually, as reported by the National Fire Protection Association. A retired couple from Glendale is all too familiar with that truth.
It’s been a living hell, for sure. Dotti Byerly once lamented, “Just when I think I’ve gotten over it, I remember something else I lost. Byerly and her husband William witnessed the fireworks display last year on July 3, but they had no idea it would lead to this. The home was on fire, he came in and roared”, she said.
Byerly stated that her backyard man cave was where her spouse was at the time. “He smelled smoke, so he went into the garage, and when he looked up, the garage was on fire,” Byerly explained.
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It had been 26 years since the elderly couple and their daughter left the house near 43rd and Olive Avenues. Byerly said that their patio had been damaged by a bottle rocket, an illegal type of aerial firework.
It was the spark that set off the blaze. They managed to get away with just the clothes they were wearing. Verlin White, a neighbor, said, “Sitting out here with them watching it burn was, yeah, it’s not a good thing,” Now when they hear fireworks, they both know what it means.
“Yeah, I’ll be home watching, waiting, and making sure it doesn’t happen to me,” White added. The Phoenix Fire Department warns that fireworks are extremely dangerous and should be treated as such.
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People who have thrown them away often phone them to find out that they can still be used. Captain Todd Keller advised, “Have a bucket of water, a hose, and an open area on concrete kind of like a platform area, where you can light these fireworks off and there’s no brush, no dry vegetation where it can catch fire,” Captain Todd Keller said.
Dotti also had a message. “Please realize what you’re dealing with it’s fun, they’re beautiful you want to watch them but let someone who knows what they’re doing, that’s a professional do that,” she said.
Nobody was ever arrested for starting the fire. According to Byerly, the Glendale Police Department limited the possible addresses down to four or five properties but was never able to pinpoint the origin of the bottle rocket.
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