Firefighters suspect fireworks to blame for Federal Way house fire

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FEDERAL WAY – The holiday weekend is drawing to a close, but firefighters are continuing to battle small fires around Western Washington tonight. Many of them are believed to have been started by fireworks.

Catherine Kubiak talked to her neighbors this morning, as they walked through their Federal Way house trying to salvage what they could.

“They don’t seem angry about it, they’re just shocked and devastated that this happened to them.”

They weren’t home yesterday, when a fire broke out on their cedar roof. Catherine was home and saw what happened. She wasn’t sure if firefighters could stop the fire from spreading.

“It was super scary. We didn’t know how long it was going to take for them to put it out. Luckily the neighbors came out and helped me water down my fence and shed.”

Investigators suspect fireworks may be to blame.

“We didn’t find any obvious device, but it’s possible because of the day,” says South King Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Chuck Kahler. “Even though fireworks are illegal here in Federal Way, people are still using them.”

Firefighters battled similar situations around the region all weekend. There were more than 500 fire calls just in King County. That’s why some are wondering whether it’s time to re-consider whether fireworks should be allowed at all.

“They cause millions of dollars in damage,” says Kahler. “Not to mention how all the fire departments in the area have to up their staff for the day.”

Catherine says she never thought she had to worry about fireworks before.

“But for it to happen to your neighbor and see how much it affected them and to see the fire firsthand, it makes your rethink about the whole Fourth of July.”

Firefighters say even when they know fireworks are to blame for a fire, it’s hard to prove who’s responsible. That’s why very few cases are ever prosecuted.

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