Heather Willard /NewsBreak Denver / July 5, 2022
(Highlands Ranch, Colo.) Improperly discarded fireworks caused a fire that destroyed a three-car garage on Kittiwake Street, according to South Metro Fire Rescue.
Residents reported the fire around 10:40 p.m. July 3, after smoke alarms and the smell of smoke alerted them. The fireworks were used outside and felt “cool to the touch” before they were discarded in a plastic trash bin inside the garage.
All residents safely evacuated without injuries, but a cat was still unaccounted when firefighters responded. South Metro Fire Rescue reported that upon arriving on-scene, the three-car garage was fully engulfed. Firefighters from Engine and Medic 17 deployed a hose line to quickly control the fire, preventing it from extending into the rest of the home.
Firefighters rescued the cat from the smoke-filled home and treated it with oxygen. The fire destroyed the garage and personal items.
While setting off fireworks remains illegal under Stage 1 fire restrictions, South Metro Fire Rescue recommends anyone using the devices ensure there is a bucket of water, a garden hose full of water with a nozzle attached and or a fire extinguisher nearby in case of an accident.
The department further recommends that once fireworks are cool and ready to be thrown in the trash, first soak them in the bucket of water overnight and leave the bucket outside, away from vegetation, mulch or structures. The next morning, dump the wet bucket contents into a sturdy trash bag, double bag it to keep the fireworks moist, then discard them with regular trash collection.
The Highlands Ranch garage fire was one of several over the holiday weekend. South Metro Fire Rescue also responded to a fire on South Teller Court in Jefferson County for a fire, suspected to be caused by improperly discarded fireworks. The agency also responded to a vegetation fire on Himalaya Way in Arapahoe County ignited by aerial fireworks over the Spring Creek Park open space — forcing residential evacuations.
Douglas County’s firefighting helicopter was also deployed over the weekend, dropping water on a small fire near Mill Gulch above Strontia Springs, near Littleton.
Arapahoe Rescue Patrol, Inc. and Douglas County Sheriff's Office also responded to the Highlands Ranch garage scene.