Six fires, including two at homes, in Forsyth County were the result of other’s shooting fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend.
Forsyth County Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers said on Tuesday there were two structure fires and four brushfires that happened after fireworks were shot over the weekend. Investigators believe that both of the structure fires happened from neighbors shooting fireworks.
“They are both still active investigations,” Shivers said. “Our investigators are still working through interviews and working with the insurance companies to make some final determinations, but we’re confident that neither one of them were intentionally set. Neither are suspicious in any way.”
For both fires, the homes are still livable and there were no injuries.
The first fire happened Sunday night at a home on Stallion Drive in southwest Forsyth and was contained to the home’s garage.
“The homeowner described that, like in many places in the county, neighbors were shooting off fireworks,” Shivers said. “He was not shooting any off, but neighbors were shooting off fireworks, and he had observed one explode very nearby and his garage door was open at the time.”
Shivers said investigators could not find any other cause for the fire.
The other structure fire happened Monday morning on Andrew Way in north Forsyth.
“It is believed to be accidental also, but directly related to fireworks, again not by the homeowner but shot by neighbors,” Shivers said. “Some, we believe to have fallen in pine straw that rings this home … as a decorative border. The pine straw was set on fire and possibly even smoldered throughout the night until the next morning. ”
Shivers said there was significant debris in the area from “amateur fireworks.”
The remaining fires were the product of two large fireworks displays.
“There were four brush fires that we can attribute to fireworks,” Shivers said. “Three were in the Polo Fields neighborhood and one was in the
St. Marlo neighborhood, all likely due to their shows that they shot off in those communities.”
Between Friday and Monday, the department responded to 165 emergencies, most of which were common calls, like wrecks and medical calls.
Shivers said the department had noticed an uptick in fires since last year, when a change in the law allowed fireworks to be bought and sold in the state.
“In the years past, it’s never been unusual for us to have an event or two that were likely fireworks related,” he said. “However, since the Georgia law changed in the last couple of years allowing for amateur purchase and use of fireworks, we have seen of these kinds of spikes in damage from fireworks use.”
It’s likely that this year’s weather also played a role.
“This year has been unusually dry,” Shivers said. “The last few years, we’ve had a wet pattern were the Fourth of July had rain within recent days and the areas weren’t as dry. This year, certainly, it is extremely dry and extremely dangerous.”