One fire rips through $2 million home, another chars Jetty Island

CLEARVIEW — Fireworks likely started a blaze Tuesday evening that ripped through a house and caused $2 million in damage.

“It’s a horrible loss for this family, but I hope it can serve as an example of how damaging fireworks can be,” Snohomish County Fire District 7 spokeswoman Autumn Waite said.

Crews were called to a home in the 5100 block of 176th Street SE about 5:30 p.m., Waite said. They found flames shooting out of the roof. The wind was feeding the blaze and making it difficult to contain. It took firefighters more than 90 minutes to get the fire under control.

Snohomish County fire marshal’s investigators believe fireworks sparked the fire, Waite said. People throughout the day heard fireworks going off on a street behind the home.

“It takes incidents like this to make people aware of how dangerous something can be,” Waite said.

This summer’s dry spell is making fires especially dangerous. Several brush fires recently sparked throughout the county.

Fire crews Wednesday afternoon were fighting a brush fire on Jetty Island, Everett spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.

Firefighters were called just before 3 p.m. A few hours later, the 300-foot-wide blaze was burning through tall bushes in the northwest corner of the island, Reardon said.

About 600 people came to the island Wednesday, the first day visitors were allowed this summer, Reardon said. The fire was burning on the portion of the land rarely used by people.

Six firefighters were struggling with the flames late Wednesday, using hand tools and portable pumps to control the blaze. A Snohomish County sheriff’s helicopter was summoned to scoop water from the Snohomish River to pour over the fire.

The fire was expected to burn through the night and keep crews busy into Thursday, Reardon said.

Fire crews in Snohomish County expect to be hopping through the weekend because of dry weather coupled with careless use of fireworks.

To make sure a family celebration doesn’t turn tragic, officials urge everyone to take precautions.

If you start a fire while using fireworks, you may be required to pay the cost of putting it out, said Karen Jones, a deputy state fire marshal with the Washington State Patrol. The costs may run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Revelers who cause damage by being careless with fireworks can face serious consequences, including large fines and even time behind bars, she said.

Last year, fireworks across the state caused more than 500 fires over the Fourth of July weekend, she said.

The best way to stay safe is to go to a professional display, said Autumn Waite of Fire District 7. If you do decide to shoot your own fireworks, make sure they are legal, she said.

Firecrackers, bottle rockets, skyrockets and chasers are against the law anywhere in Snohomish County, according to county fire marshal’s office.

With legal fireworks, it’s important to take precautions. “Even if it’s legal, it doesn’t mean it’s safe,” Waite said.

Fireworks are allowed in several cities and in unincorporated Snohomish County during limited hours on July 4 and, in some places, a few days before the holiday. Several local cities ban fireworks altogether. People who are planning their own holiday display should check with their city to make sure they won’t be breaking the law.

It’s illegal to discharge or possess fireworks in Everett, police Sgt. Robert Goetz said. Police plan extra patrols this weekend. Officers can slap a ticket on anyone found with fireworks.

Fireworks tips

  • Have a bucket of water ready for emergencies and to douse used fireworks.
  • Never build or experiment with homemade fireworks.
  • Never let children handle or light fireworks, including sparklers.
  • Never ignite fireworks while holding them.
  • Make sure you have enough space away from potential hazards, including buildings, vehicles and flammable materials.
  • Never light fireworks inside a house or structure, including a garage.

    Source: Snohomish County fire marshal

    Fireworks rules

    Where and when fireworks are permitted in Snohomish and Island counties:

    Edmonds, Everett, Gold Bar, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Woodway: banned

    Bothell, Granite Falls, Lynnwood, Sultan: July 4, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

    Monroe, Arlington: July 4, 9 a.m. to midnight

    Marysville: July 4 until 11 p.m.

    Index: July 4

    Unincorporated Snohomish County, Darrington, Brier: July 4, 9 a.m. to 11:59 p.m.

    Stanwood: June 28 to July 5, between noon and 11 p.m.

    Tulalip: Tulalip residents may set off fireworks at their homes. People who do not live in Tulalip may set off fireworks only in Boom City’s detonation area. Boom City is open until midnight through July 4.

    Lake Stevens: 9 a.m. to midnight July 4. (Corrected from the original online version of this article.)

    Island County: State law. June 28th between 12 noon and 11:00 p.m.; June 29 through July 3 between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.; July 4 between 9:00 a.m. and midnight; July 5 between 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m.

    Corrected from an earlier version to note that fireworks are allowed in Granite Falls from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., July 4.

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