CHARLOTTE — Fireworks are to blame for a fire at a northwest Charlotte home that left 11 people displaced on the Fourth of July, according to investigators.
Firefighters were called to the home on Oakshire Circle off of Valleydale Road at about 1:30 a.m. When they arrived, crews found heavy smoke and flames shooting from the 2-story house.
“It was just so hot. The heat from the house was hot. I didn’t know it was melting the side of my house,” one neighbor told Channel 9.
According to MEDIC, 13 people were evaluated on scene for smoke inhalation, including two parents and their 11 children. Officials said nobody was taken to the hospital.
“The dad of the family, he ran back in to get his baby and make sure all his family was out. He was like a hero. He went in there and saved everybody and got everyone out,” the neighbor said.
Firefighters said that a firecracker that had not been properly disposed of started the blaze.
Channel 9 was told that several neighbors were lighting fireworks on the street and that when those fireworks were done, they placed them in a trashcan on the side of the home.
In all, three homes were damaged.
“I came out and it’s like a huge flame in the trash can,” neighbor Latoria Williams said. “The trash can was actually melted ... it was really scary.”
Williams lives next door. The fire melted her siding but her neighbors lost everything. The woman who lives in the home that was destroyed told Channel 9 that someone threw away fireworks from Saturday’s family and neighborhood gathering in her trash can.
Fire investigators said those fireworks are what started the blaze.
“The show was done. I guess those things can reignite, I don’t know. It’s scary,” Williams said.
Between Saturday and Sunday, the Charlotte Fire Department responded to 13 other calls involving fireworks, including another house fire. That fire was also started after fireworks were discarded in a trash can.
Firefighters said that after fireworks have been used, they should not be touched for 20 minutes to make sure they are out, and then dunked in water.
“I have seen people use water, put them out right way,” said neighbor Paul Williams. “In this case, I don’t know if that did that.”
That simple mistake, cost one family everything.
“They are asking for donations,” said Latoria Williams. “They pretty much lost a lot of things.”
The woman who lived at the home told Channel 9 she had family members visiting from out of town during the holiday weekend and that she’s grateful they all made it out safely. She is also recovering from recently giving birth to her sixth child and said she is trying to navigate what to do next.
The American Red Cross was helping the 11 people who were displaced, officials said. The fire caused an estimated $80,000 in damage.
If you want to help the family, a GoFundMe page has been set up for them.
(WATCH: ‘I just cried out for my baby’: Boy, 6, killed when accused street racer hits car head-on)
©2021 Cox Media Group