Children with fireworks likely responsible for two Memphis fires


MEMPHIS, Tenn. – With the Fourth of July just a few days away, safety experts want to remind you to leave the pyrotechnic displays to the professionals.

Fireworks are being blamed for at least two recent fires in Memphis that caused more than $150,000 worth of property damage.

The Memphis Fire Department said Friday, some children playing with fireworks in a bedroom started a fire at a Whitehaven apartment complex.

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The fire torched the apartment and two other units at the New Horizon Apartments on Queensland Drive.

Fireworks are also to blame for a fire Sunday night at a vacant house in the 3700 block of Kerwin Drive in Raleigh.

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Kerwin Drive

Fire investigators said the fireworks ignited combustibles near the exterior wall. Firefighters were able to bring the fire under control in about 10 minutes but not before it spread to a neighbor’s yard.

People in the neighborhood said children set off the fireworks. One woman, who didn’t want to be identified, said she heard the fireworks before seeing the flames.

“They were trying to put it out, and I was trying to put it out, and I saw it was getting bigger, so I called the fire department.”

It is illegal to set off fireworks in Memphis and Shelby County without a permit.

The Shelby County Fire Department said it expects to see an increase in fireworks-related over the next few days.

Brent Perkins, a spokesman for the fire department, said fireworks are not only dangerous in the wrong hands but could get you in big trouble.

“Someone who is as fault for property damage, they will be held responsible,” said Perkins.

Perkins said parents need to remember sparklers can be dangerous, too. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees.

“They are like a welding rod. They burn at an incredibly high heat,” Perkins said

According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, sparklers were the leading cause of fireworks injuries to children younger than 5 in 2019.

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