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Frisco Family Loses Home After Used Fireworks Ignite Blaze

Bud Gillett, CBS 11 News | CBSDFW.COM
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FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – A Frisco family was burned out of their home overnight when what they thought to be spent fireworks – ignited a blaze in a garage garbage bin.

Firefighters say two men had shot off some fireworks, and thinking they were spent, put them in a plastic garbage bin to be hauled off.

But about an hour later homeowner Karen Walker says several people in the home thought they smelled smoke.

“And we said, ‘yeah, we smell something,’ but our smoke alarms didn’t go off so we opened up the side door from the kitchen to the garage and my husband saw the cars, house and garage was fully engulfed in flames, ” said Walker.

Frisco house fire caused by used fireworks (Photo courtesy of Jonny Carroll http://dtxmedia.com)

Frisco house fire caused by used fireworks (Photo courtesy of Jonny Carroll http://dtxmedia.com)

She said her son felt awful when it hit him that used fireworks had triggered the blaze.  “He realized very quickly what caused the fire from where the fire started and was inconsolable,” Walker told CBS 11 News.

Walker says eleven people and four dogs were in the home about 10:30 last night. They all rushed out to safety, except for her husband who tried to put on the flames with a garden hose.

She says he suffered second degree burns on his hands and legs.  She also said the whole thing was a hard experience. “Just kids being kids unfortunately they learned a valuable lesson; they were in shock last night, as we all were.”

Frisco Fire Chief Mark Piland echoed the lesson learned about fireworks.  “We have to continue giving out the message and trying to convince people that they are dangerous,” he said, adding  there’s a reason fireworks are banned in Frisco.

“They can last, even though you believe they’re out -  the heat signature from the fireworks can last for a couple of days, sometimes.  His best advice is not to use them at all.  Speaking of the Walker fire he said, “Obviously accidental, certainly nothing he intended to do. I sincerely believe that they thought when they disposed of the fireworks in that trash can that they were out.”

Karen Walker says it’s a hard lesson learned for her son, and for her family.   “It’s devastating when it happens to you. You watch people and other houses burn and you watch the parade of cars go by and when it’s you it really hurts to watch everybody take pictures like we’re a sideshow, it’s tough to take, too.”

But those are passers-by.  Her neighbors have been very generous to her husband and family; one is offering the loan of a car; another, with a home for sale, is willing to let them in it rent-free for two months; and neighbors across the street have opened their home to the Walkers.

People who want to keep up with her story can follow her on Facebook at Karen Lorenz Walker.

The firey nighttime photos accompanying this story are courtesy of Jonny Carroll of DTXMedia.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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