Fireworks keep fire crews busy around DC; here’s how to give them a break

Fireworks have been blamed for several fires, three of them serious, around the area this week.

In D.C.’s Petworth neighborhood, four people and several pets were left displaced in the 800 block of Varnum Street Northwest just after 1 a.m. Friday. No one was injured, but the fire “severely damaged” the single-family wood-frame home, said D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Vito Maggiolo.

Sitting in front of the home, he said, was a large pile of depleted fireworks, “all of which were illegal” in D.C.

“Anything in the District is illegal if it explodes, if it moves or if it goes airborne,” Maggiolo said.

Firefighters in the District handled other calls involving trash cans, dumpsters or outside fires connected with fireworks, he added.

In Fairfax County, Virginia, improper disposal of fireworks was blamed for a blaze early Friday in the 4100 block of Watkins Trail in Annandale. No one was injured, but five were displaced.

Improperly disposed fireworks were also cited for a fire Wednesday night that damaged a home in McLean. And, there was a “close call” Thursday night in Springfield that also involved improperly discarded fireworks.

As in D.C., there were similar smaller calls around the county, said Rick Roatch, a deputy fire chief for Fairfax County’s Fire and Rescue Department.

“Someone would drive down a road, see a trash can on fire, and call it in, which … a lot of times, was attributed back to fireworks being discarded in there and boxes of fireworks that were left burning in a park,” he said.

With the area set to continue celebrating the Fourth of July over the weekend, Roatch has a reminder for everyone: “We need to treat fireworks much like we would fireplace ashes, where we need to soak them in water before they’re discarded,” he said.

WTOP’s John Domen contributed to this report.

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