NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Two overnight house fires in New Haven, and fire officials say both were caused by people not disposing of their used fireworks in the proper way. A house on Walnut Street was badly damaged, and another house on Woolsey Street caught fire at about the same time.
As the house on Walnut Street burned, Presley Serrano was nearby and ran over to help.
“And I see fire, and I seen fireworks, enormous fireworks,” Serrano said.
In a video sent into News8’s Report!t, you can see and here fireworks still popping as the flames consume the side of the building. Inside the house, friends and neighbors were banging on doors. One man was fast asleep inside.
“We were ready to take the door down when he opened the door,” said Lisa Sari, who was asleep in the house at the time of the fire. “His room was already on fire. We just ran out of the house and within minutes the house was up in flames. The whole house.”
Sari was visiting a friend named Louis in the house when she says she heard the neighbors setting off those fireworks.
“It pisses me off,” Sari said. “It really pisses me off, not only that their house, themselves, their family got displaced, but Louis lost everything he owns here. Everything.”
— Kent Pierce (@kentpierce8) July 5, 2017
Less than a mile away, at 86 Wollsey Street, it was easy to tell the fire began in a garbage can, because someone dragged the burning container away from the house and left it on the sidewalk. You could still see garbage and bits of fireworks inside, with the remains of the blue plastic garbage can around it. Before that container was moved, the heat of that fire melted the siding right off the house.
“Neighbors came out with a water hose and started hosing on the side of the house,” said one neighbor, who did not want to be identified. He told News8 that the fireworks show on Woolsey Street rivals the city’s display. Early Wednesday morning, the streets were still covered with papers and wrappers of fireworks that are clearly illegal in Connecticut.
This is exactly why News8 just had New Haven’s Fire Marshal on a few days ago to explain that when you are done with fireworks, even legal sparklers, dunk them in a bucket of water to make sure they are really out.