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Illegal fireworks cause blaze that displaces three families

July 1, 2012 |  8:27 pm

Three families were displaced and a home and duplex burned when people using fireworks in San Bernardino set fire to a carport where other fireworks were being stored.

The blaze was reported about 1:30 a.m. Sunday in the 1300 block of North Cedar, said San Bernardino Fire Capt. Jason Serrano.

Arriving firefighters saw smoke and explosions coming from the carport. Explosive projectiles were shooting up into nearby trees, an attached duplex and a nearby home, Serrano said. They were told that a significant amount of fireworks were stored in the carport and the attached duplex.

It took firefighters about 40 minutes to control the blaze and another three hours to extinguish all the hot spots.

Certain types of fireworks, known as “safe and sane,” are legal in parts of San Bernardino. But the types that were being used at the scene -- including bottle rockets and mortars -- are illegal, Serrano said.

One family was able to return home by Sunday evening, but the duplex is uninhabitable and the two families who lived there are still displaced. They have sought help from the Red Cross, Serrano said.

“This is a perfect example of the dangers of fireworks,” the fire captain said. “Here we are just a few days before the Fourth of July and we’ve already experienced a significant structure fire where lives were threatened.”

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-- Paloma Esquivel

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