Two dogs survive local fire reportedly caused by fireworks residuals in a trash can

By Benjamin Cox on July 6, 2018 at 1:38pm

A local resident was surprised by a small garage fire the evening of the Fourth.

Individual private Independence Day fireworks displays, though mostly illegal in our state, happened without any injuries or damage for the most part in West Central Illinois. However, there was one small instance of damage at a residence in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Fire Captain Mike Griffitts was the shift commander on duty the night of July 4th. However, Captain Griffitts was unavailable for comment. Captain Brian Nyberg offers the department’s official report for the small garage fire in the 200 block of Brookside Drive.

“We arrived on scene to find a small fire on the front corner of the outside of the garage. The garage door was open about 12 inches and the fire was burning along the bottom of the door and extending in to the garage. We deployed a 1.75 inch hose line and knocked down the exterior fire. We then went around the back of the garage and made entry into the garage We extinguished the fire and made entry into the house. We searched the residence and pulled two dogs out of the house that were in the basement. All hazards were mitigated and the scene was cleared. The owners of the residence said that fireworks had been set off there earlier that day and the trash from the fireworks had been placed in a trash can right by the garage door, and they believe that is what caused the fire.”

One of the residents of the affected house told WLDS news that Jacksonville Police Officer Jason Bryant was off-duty and initially noticed the fire. Bryant was the first to call 911, but also began bravely fighting the fire with a garden hose after completing the emergency call. According to the resident, “If it wasn’t for him [Officer Bryant] the entire house and our puppies would have been lost.”

The resident continued by saying, “The Jacksonville Fire Department was also wonderful, so was Officer Wright who responded immediately and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department. Also LifeStar Ambulance treated our dogs for us and Lisa Jackson at PAWS has been taking care of them since.”

Not all of the fireworks were limited to Independence Day. Last night, Jacksonville Police received six separate calls related to local residents setting off fireworks, starting with the first call just before 10 p.m., and the final call just after 11:30. Of those six calls in reference to fireworks, five of them came from the northeast part of Jacksonville.

Local police responded to the 200 block of Walcott, the 100 block of West Independence, the 200 block of Howe, the 900 block of North Clay and the 400 block of East Douglas – all in reference to local individuals setting off various types of fireworks. The sixth call came from the 100 block of Fairview Terrace just west of the Illinois School for the Deaf campus. According to police reports, officers were unable to find any fireworks-related activity at any of the five locations on the northeast side of town.