Fourth of July fireworks cause 8 fires in Glendale

The Glendale Fire Department had its hands full for Independence Day weekend.

According to Capt. Ashley Losch, the city experienced 10 fires that involved some form of structure from the afternoon of July 3 to the morning of July 5. That figure does not include dumpster fires and other smaller fires.

“It was an extremely busy shift for our crews,” she said.

“It was absolutely a massive uptick for us. Fourth of July weekend, when it falls on a weekend, it feels as though more people go out of town, but this year was pretty packed. The city was pretty busy.”

Losch said many fires is not average but that the number of fires that crews have to respond to does vary.

Of the 10 structure fires Glendale Fire responded to, eight of them, Losch said, were related to fireworks.

“I was talking to one of our crews that was working, and they said at one point they got up on the roof of the station and every single neighborhood had fireworks — and not the legal kind,” she said. “I don’t know if they were more readily available or if people were ready to celebrate. But we certainly saw the uptick and the aftermath, unfortunately.”

On July 4, Glendale Fire dealt with four fires concurrently. Being that busy drains resources very quickly.

“It leaves the city less available to run medical calls or other fires,” Losch said. “There was a point in time on the Fourth of July night where we had four fires going on simultaneously, so there wasn’t a unit available in Glendale at all, as we were all (working) on some fire somewhere in the city. So, it’s a strain on our resources for sure.”

Losch said she’s thankful for the partnership Glendale Fire has with the automatic-aid system, as it filled the gap, but there were too many fires in the Valley.

“It just reaches further and further out for resources, causing a delay in response times,” Losch said.

As it pertains to setting off fireworks, Losch said that if someone is interested in setting off fireworks they should keep it to the legal options. In addition, try to avoid using them while it is windy, as that could lead to unpredictability.

Something that is overlooked by many is disposal of them.

“If you do use them, make sure you’re soaking them in a bucket of water for at least 24 hours or when they’re fully saturated before putting them in a trash can because they will ignite the debris or any trash if they’re still hot,” Losch said.

Generally speaking, however, Losch advises against the use of personal fireworks.

“Honestly, go to the big shows,” she said. “That’s why the cities put them on. Go enjoy the big shows. Let the professionals do it, and then go home and have a safe night so that you know that you’re not risking yourself or your neighbors.”

For Losch, she stressed that if anyone finds themselves in a dangerous situation caused by a fire, the public should allow the fire department to do its job.

“We want you to get to safety,” she said. “Call 911. Let us come in and handle it. We don’t want anyone going back in for pets or possessions. We understand how important they are, but your life is important and we want to make sure you’re safe.”