Resident fears fire from fireworks

Calcasieu Police Jurors opted not to ban fireworks outside the cities. That's a decision at least one homeowner thinks is a big mistake. "For many people Fourth of July is all about the fireworks whether they are watching a professional display or popping their own somewhere where, hopefully it's legal."

But one person who will stay home Fourth of July is Joe Zartler of Moss Bluff. He'll be keeping vigil to make sure no one popping fire crackers sets his house ablaze.  Reporter: What are you going to be doing on Fourth of July? Says Zartler, "Sitting out front watching my property. I'm just going to watch out and make sure nothing happens around here."

Zartler thinks the police jury should have outlawed fireworks this year. Yet, Calcasieu Director of Homeland Security Dick Gremillion says few fires are started from fireworks. "Fact is, most accidental fires are started by people burning things in their yard, sixty per cent in fact. Another thirty per cent are caused by arsonists or people who intentionally cause fires and of the overall numbers that the fire marshal had less then one per cent of all accidental fires are started by fireworks."

Gremillion points out most fireworks are already extinguished by the time they hit the ground. "Most of the grass fires we've had have been along roadways which tells us they're probably from people throwing cigarette butts out. Firework on the other hand is designed to burn out before it hits the ground so in most cases, by the time they come back down, if you shoot one up, it's going to be out."

Still, Zartler will be on alert and hopes those who use fireworks will be extremely cautious and that they will supervise children playing with fire.  "Driving around the parish I see kids doing fireworks with no parental supervision. And kids don't know what to do if a fire would start. They would probably just run in the house and maybe not say anything to anybody. I think the parents should really, really, really watch the kids."

Despite the heat officials say recent rains have made the situation better.

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