Fire in the hall

By Brian Knox | Published Thursday, July 7, 2011

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The East Wise volunteer firefighters are accustomed to putting out house fires, but it was their own house that needed attention Monday night.

That was because a firework struck the building and caused a small fire.

Wise County Fire Marshal Marc Dodd said a neighbor launched a rocket that ended up in the wrong place.

“He (the neighbor) said it went up, came down and then flew at a 90-degree angle when it hit an exterior wall of the fire hall,” Dodd said.

The firework struck just above a wall-mounted air conditioning unit and became lodged between the unit and the wall, setting the interior wall on fire.

The fire was extinguished in a matter of minutes because firefighters were in the hall at the time, having returned from fighting a hay bale fire earlier in the day.

Dodd said the neighbor confessed to causing the fire, and he was issued a citation for reckless damage.

Local firefighters were busy Sunday night and particularly Monday night as residents were free to shoot fireworks. However, Dodd said it appears that the number of grass fire calls this fireworks season (June 24-July 4) appeared to be right at the average for recent years. The average number of grass fires is 84.4, and Dodd said 84 grass fires had been reported this year.

The citation issued at the East Wise Fire Hall on County Road 4421 was the only one issued Monday, Dodd said. Although fireworks caused numerous grass fires, Dodd said he had not received reports that any fire had spread to someone else’s property.

Wise County was under a burn ban this year, but fireworks were allowed. The burn ban is in effect during days when red flag warnings are issued. There was no red flag warning this past weekend.

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