MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) -- Officials with the Manhattan Fire Department say fireworks are to blame for a number of fires throughout the city during the July 4th holiday, including a blaze that destroyed a family's home and damaged an apartment building.
According to a press release from Deputy Chief Ryan Almes , crews responded to 15 fireworks-related fires- six dumpster/trash fires, seven grass fires and two structure fires. The first fire, a trash can fire, was reported Saturday, June 30, at 11:35 p.m. The discharge of fireworks is only allowed July 1 through July 4 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. (midnight).
At 10:15 PM on Tuesday, July 3, 2012, crews were called to the Hillside Apartments at 713 Dondee Drive in Manhattan for a report of a fire on the roof of the 12-unit building.
Officials say the roof of the three story apartment building caught fire due to fireworks being set off in the area, causing an estimated $35,000 worth of damage to the structure. The fire was contained to roughly a 12’ x 12’ area of the roof.
One occupant was displaced by the damage and two people were treated on the scene for smoke inhalation.
No other injuries were reported.
Then on Thursday, July 5, at 4:30 AM, crews responded to 3704 Katherine Circle in the northwest portion of Manhattan for a report of a house fire. The call came in from a neighbor who said they could see flames coming from the house. Crews arrived on scene to find the home engulfed in flames in the front and in the attic. The homeowners were not at home at the time of the fire. Firefighters were able to get the flames under control in less than an hour.
The loss is estimated at $250,000 to the structure and $90,000 to the contents, totaling $340,000 in damage.
Fire investigators found that the fire started on the outside of the structure and suspect that fireworks are the cause of the fire.
Three minor injuries involving firefighters were reported.
WIBW spoke to the homeowner who said that he was out of town at the time, along with his wife, visiting family for the July 4th holiday. He was grateful that they were not home when the fire tore through their home and thankful that the flames did not spread to neighbors' homes. The couple was working to salvage what belongings and photos they could on Thursday. Friends, neighbors and members of their church are helping them. The fire department lists their home as a total loss.
The fire remains under investigation.