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Cedar Rapids family’s shed completely destroyed in fire attributed to fireworks

Published: Jul. 7, 2021 at 12:52 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -The Cedar Rapids Fire Department responded to around a dozen fires attributed to fireworks from July 2 through July 5, which is more than double the number from 2020, and many were calls for structure fires.

The Cedar Rapids Fire Department said in a press release the fire Monday night in the 600 block of Bartlet Court NW was the 11th fire that started with fireworks since July 2.

Robert Becker lives at the home on Bartlet Court with his girlfriend and their five children. The scene in his backyard changed quickly that night.

“We were sitting on the couch, it was about 10 o’clock, I’d say. And our 14-year-old came running down the stairs, fire, fire, fire! And we look out back, and our shed was completely engulfed,” Becker said.

Becker said they could feel the heat of the flames from the shed in their backyard standing on their back porch. He added that he was grateful for the quick response from firefighters.

“My heart dropped. And they just rolled out the hose and got after it, and it was amazing to watch how quickly and efficiently they worked,” Becker said.

Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire, preventing it from spreading further. The shed was completely destroyed, with more than $3,000 estimated in property damage. Surrounding trees and fences were also burned.

Cedar Rapids Assistant Fire Chief Andy Olsen said there was a significant amount of property damage done by firework-caused fires over the past few days. He said there’s a reason shooting them off inside city limits is illegal --there’s no safe place to do it.

“In the city when you shoot them off they often land on people’s roofs, they land on people’s siding, they land in people’s yards and they spread to brush and buildings,” Olsen said.

Becker says no one was injured when the shed in his backyard caught on fire Monday night.

Unity Point Health St. Luke’s Emergency Room in Cedar Rapids reported seeing five people treated for firework injuries since July 2. Those injuries include burns, ash/foreign body to the eye, and fireworks to the arm/chest, and upper chest.

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