Blue Roof Dangers - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Blue Roof Dangers

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December 29, 2005
Reported by Vince Atkinson

New Year's Eve is just days away, for many the celebration includes fireworks.  We have all heard about the dangers of fireworks, but this year there are added dangers.  The problem is just one more you can blame on Hurricane Rita

More than three months have past since Hurricane Rita slammed ashore, but still you do not have to look very hard to find a home that still has a blue roof (blue plastic tarps covering storm - damaged roofs).  Now, fire departments up and down the gulf coast are nervous about New Year's Eve. Fireworks and flammable plastic tarps just do not mix.

Local fire departments around Southwest Louisiana prepare for a spike in the number of fires in the days leading up to New Year's Eve every year. Chief T. A. Jones with the Lake Charles Fire Department says, "Already today we have had a house fire." All it takes is one stray bottle rocket to take your celebration from being a good time to a tragidy.

Jones says things are even more dangerous than usual this year.  Jones says, "We have two issues to think about." Both center around damage left in the wake of Hurricane Rita. The blue roofs that can be found in nearly every neighborhood are anything but flame retardant.  Jones says, "If one of those lands on top of a blue roof it will catch on fire. It will burn."

The second issue deals with the piles of debris that can still be found in almost every local city. Now that debris piles have been drying out for the last three months they have become an accident waiting to happen.

If you still decide to hold your own fireworks display the Lake Charles Fire Department is urging you to use some simple precautions. Jones says, "You should have a bucket of water, fire extinguisher, fire house, or something handy if something catches on fire near you."

It is illegal to set off fireworks within the city limits. Officials with the Lake Charles Fire Department recomend that individuals that still have blue roofs skip holding "at home" fireworks displays this New Year's Eve.

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