Fireworks accidentally ignite, causing house to go up in flames, investigators say

CHARLOTTE — A house fire in east Charlotte was caused by someone “cutting and grinding too close to stored fireworks,” Charlotte Fire Department investigators said. It was deemed an accident, which caused about $142,000 worth of damage.

Firefighters and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the home on Country Walk Drive near Reddman Road shortly after 2:30 p.m.

Chopper 9 Skyzoom flew to the scene, where Charlotte Fire was battling the blaze that appeared to have completely destroyed the house.

Betty Dean Baker drove by the fire.

“I never have seen anything like this before,” Baker said.

Baker said she saw smoke and what looked like fireworks blasting out of the east Charlotte home.

She was worried her car would catch on fire.

“It was so much smoke,” she said. “And yes, fireworks were going off right at the top where the smoke was at. So I thought first it was gas. Didn’t know (any) better until we found out later.”

CFD Capt. Jackie Gilmore said it doesn’t take much for something like this to happen.

“Fireworks are very flammable, and a spark or flame came in contact with the fireworks,” Gilmore said. “It will be dangerous.”

The homeowner had minor injuries and was treated at the scene, fire officials said.

It took 30 firefighters less than 40 minutes to get it under control. Two adjacent homes were damaged due to radiant heat.

The occupant was displaced and is staying with friends.

Fireworks and the law

Charlotte Fire is reminding people aerial fireworks are illegal in North Carolina, and they recommend people leave firework shows to the professionals.

In North Carolina, firecrackers, bottle rockets and essentially any fireworks that leave the ground are illegal without a permit.

You can light sparklers and fountain fireworks, as long as they don’t explode. You must be at least 18 years old to buy them.

Violators face a misdemeanor charge and a fine up to $500 and/or six months in jail.

South Carolina has more lax laws.

Bigger fireworks like M-80s, cherry bombs and small rockets, are illegal. You must be 18 to buy those, too.

If you legally buy fireworks in South Carolina, it is still illegal to shoot them in North Carolina.

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(VIDEO BELOW: Crews with the Charlotte Fire Department fight blaze at east Charlotte house.)