July 16, 2001
Carnation house fires spark council study
Both incidents caused by fireworks
by Lisa Allen
Valley View Editor
CARNATION - After illegal fireworks caused two house fires in the city during the week of July 4, the City Council has decided to investigate the possibility of a future ban on fireworks.
Eastside Fire and Rescue (EF& R) Chief Lee Soptich, a Carnation resident, spoke to the council last week on the issue, noting that the EF&R Board of Commissioners had recommended that Carnation, North Bend and Sammamish follow the city of Issaquah's lead in implementing a ban on all fireworks.
Soptich had just come from the EF & R board meeting during which he told the board that the city of Issaquah has had a ban in place for several years and that city had essentially no fireworks-related fires or injuries.
"I wish we could say the same for Sammamish, Carnation and North Bend," said Soptich. "This was the worst year that I can remember for fireworks-related calls in our area of unincorporated King County and those cities without bans that we serve. We should not be putting the citizens and firefighters at this unacceptable and avoidable risk."
Carnation City Manager Woody Edvalson said council members are still studying the issue, including language that would be used in a fireworks ban.
"They have made no decision yet," he said. "The council is also considering people's rights to celebrate the 4th of July but mainly they want to figure out how to control illegal fireworks."
The first blaze, previous to July 4, was caused by some youngsters playing with fireworks in the carport of a neighboring house. Edvalson said the house was a total loss and will have to be torn down.
The second fire occurred shortly after midnight, July 5, causing $200,000 damage to the roof and second story of the house.
"Because it was after midnight of the Fourth, that made it illegal," said Edvalson. "King County arson investigators will be pursuing that and there may be a prosecution."
Eastside Fire & Rescue responded to approximately 24 fireworks-related calls between June 28, the first day for fireworks sales, and July 7. Many of the calls were brush or grass fires, but one vehicle was destroyed and three homes were severely damaged, displacing the owners.