PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – With fireworks complaint calls up nearly 400%, the city of Pittsburgh is using three recent incidents to remind residents about the dangers of fireworks.
The city says it believes fireworks are related to a fire causing at least $50,000 worth of damage to a school, a girl getting burned and a brush fire that broke out in the Hill District.
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The rocket’s red glare, bombs bursting in air? Maybe next year…
This 4th of July, please play it safe and refrain from DIY fireworks displays.
— Pgh Public Safety (@PghPublicSafety) July 3, 2020
Thursday night, firefighters spent hours on the scene of a fire at the old Horace Mann School on Shadeland Avenue.
Fireworks Taskforce members warned a group of people shooting off fireworks from the baseball field at the school to stop. Forty minute later, the abandon school’s roof caught on fire.
A firework thrown into the gym at McNaugher School on Maple Street during a dance class left one girl with a minor burn on her foot.
And before that, the city says a large brush fire on Rose Street in the Hill District was put out before it could spread to buildings or cause injuries. It’s believed a firework started that fire.
“State law prohibits the use of fireworks, even those that are legal, within 150 feet of any structure. Fireworks are also prohibited in all parks, any public space, and on private property without consent of the landowner,” the city says.
Overnight, people called in 85 complaints.
“We at Public Safety know this Fourth of July weekend is not the kind Pittsburghers are used to. It’s frustrating that we can’t gather and celebrate with our usual, grand fireworks display that everyone can enjoy,” Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said.READ MORE: Domestic Incident Inside Of The Mall At Robinson Leads To Chaotic Scene
“Many people will be tempted to put on their own displays, but I urge them to refrain and celebrate in other ways in order to stay safe during these challenging times.”
Anyone caught violating fireworks law could face a $100 fine.
No arrests were made in these incidents. But they are being investigated. Anyone with information is asked to call Pittsburgh Bureau of Police at 412-323-7800.
Chuck Spangler, Assistant Chief of Duquesne Annex VFD, told KDKA some volunteer fire companies are facing another issue this weekend: lack of volunteers.
“A lot of people go away for the weekend. A lot of people have family functions. So, it strains us on manpower,” said Spangler.
This means firefighters from other departments will have to respond, removing resources from their own communities, according to Spangler.
Spangler also expressed his appreciation for people wanting to have fun with the glittering balls of fire but said “they need to be responsible with them.”MORE NEWS: Mountaineers Become Bowl-Eligible With 34-28 Win Over Kansas
If you still choose to light up fireworks this weekend fighters give the following tips:
- Have a hose handy
- Keep an extinguisher on standby
- Stay away from grass, shrubs, and plants (the grass is dry due to high temperatures this weekend)
- Light the fireworks on dirt or gravel covered ground
- Step away after lighting the fireworks