Tossed firework causes season’s first brush fire

June 29, 2011

A misplaced "ground bloom flower with bang" led to a small grass fire Friday on Industrial Loop.

Someone apparently threw the 2-inch firework from a moving car, based on witnesses' reports, according to Fire Chief Devon Wells.

The 60-by-60-foot blaze, on a 10-foot roadside embankment, was doused by firefighters at about 12:45 p.m. before it could spread to trees or nearby structures, according to Wells.

Responding were firefighters from Hood River Fire Department and U.S. Forest Service (who were just blocks away on Wasco Street when the fire was reported).

The fire occurred a half-block north of 13th Street, near the west end of three-block-long Industrial Loop. In the vicinity are homes and businesses; the fire spread to the driveway of Outdoor Wino, an outdoor wine bar on Industrial Loop.

Wells said witnesses at a construction site southeast across Industrial Loop heard what they knew to be a fireworks sound and looked up and saw a car drive by. They did not get a description of the vehicle, Wells said.

"They were outside, saw the car go by, but in itself that doesn't mean anything," Wells said. "That's what I presume happened; somehow a lit firework got to the side of the curb, on a heavily trafficked road, where no one was walking, no kids around. It makes it look like someone tossed it out the window of the car."

He added that the timing of the start of the fire was corroborated by neighbors on the southwest side who had just arrived home five minutes before and saw the fire when they went out on their deck, which overlooks the scene of the fire.

Wells said witnesses reported the fire started "within a couple of minutes after the fireworks was thrown." The property burned is all within city street right of way, Wells said, adding that it did "slight damage" to a power pole.

Though firefighters controlled the spread of the fire, Wells said "the potential was very high," for something worse.

"There was enough wind that driving over there it did make me concerned," Wells said. "The smoke was blowing across the street, enough to make fire move, but not enough for a large fire spread. But the potential for fire spread was definitely there."

He said "it was a concern because it happened virtually in the same place as the Hope fire that happened in 2009, which was substantial." (Several structures and extensive land in the vicinity were burned in that fire.)

"It's just another reminder to people you need to be careful," Wells said. "A firework can start a fire very, very easily."

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

Log in to comment

News from our Community Partners