TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Three fires in less than two hours kept Tampa Bay firefighters busy on July 4.
The Hillsborough County Fire Responded to a blaze on Soratrace Street in Fishhawk at about 9:45 p.m. and saw heavy smoke and flames shooting through the home. Crews set up a defensive attack to stop the fire from spreading to neighboring houses.
Officials said at least one person was inside the home when the fire broke out, and was able to escape with two of his dogs. A third dog is still missing. No injuries were reported.
“The occupant disposed of used fireworks believed to be out in a cardboard box in the garage, failing to extinguish them with water,” the fire department said in a news release. “Investigators believe the heat of the fireworks started the fire in the box, which rapidly spread throughout the garage and the home.”
About 30 minutes later, another fire broke out in the 5200 block of Ashley Parkway in Sarasota County. The fire was extinguished around midnight and all residents were accounted for, the sheriff’s office said. One firefighter was hurt, but did not go to the hospital. No other injuries were reported.
Officials said the blaze may have been caused by fireworks, but the incident is still being investigated by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
“You need to become firefighters like us,” said Rob Herrin with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue. “If there’s fire involved and that’s what a firework is — you need to put it out with some water before you throw it away.”
Herrin said despite the warnings, some residents did not listen.
“We would like to leave it up to the pros,” he said. “They do a good job and they have safety measures in place.”
At about 11 p.m., crews were called to a fire in the 600 block of Pinewood Drive in Dunedin. The blaze was quickly extinguished by firefighters.
“Residents stated to fire personnel that they threw away used fireworks and that one of the fireworks ignited and caught fire to the home,” officials told News Channel 8.
No one was injured. Officials said the Red Cross was called to assist six people who were displaced.
Herrin said there was also a grilling fire on Northdale. Fire crews responded to the home on Monday afternoon on Lakeville Drive after a resident put coals in a trash can. They thought the coals had cooled, but they were still hot enough to spark a fire that climbed the wall and into the attic.