Soptich: Fourth should be safer

SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - After three Eastside homes were damaged in fires caused by fireworks this Fourth of July, the board of directors for Eastside Fire and Rescue voted unanimously July 10 to encourage the cities of North Bend, Carnation and Sammamish to ban the sale and private use of fireworks.

"This is the worst year that I can remember for fireworks-related calls in our area of unincorporated King County and those cities without [fireworks] bans that we serve. We should not be putting the citizens and firefighters at this unacceptable and avoidable risk," said Lee Soptich, EFR Fire Chief.

As a fire and emergency service organization, EFR covers the cities of North Bend, Carnation, Issaquah and Sammamish, as well as unincorporated county areas such as Preston and May Valley. EFR responded to approximately 24 fireworks-related calls between June 28, when fireworks first went on sale, and July 7. Two Carnation homes and one in Klahanie were severely damaged. The remaining incidents included one injury, a car fire and a few dumpster, grass and tree fires.

The first house fire started about 5 p.m. June 30 at the intersection of Rutherford and Spillman in Carnation. The second occurred at 5:30 p.m. July 4 in the 24700 block of Southeast 45th Court in the Klahanie area, and the third ignited at midnight on the Fourth in the 4200 block of 327th Place Northeast in the Swiftwater Development of Carnation.

All three homes were nearly destroyed and investigators believe fireworks were to blame. The three fires resulted in about $550,000 worth of damages.

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