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Dogs die in holiday weekend fire

Fire, Police departments also respond to fireworks-related calls

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 5, 2016

File photo

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Two dogs died in a house fire in the 22000 block of 12 Mile Road over the Fourth of July weekend, but fire officials say fireworks were not to blame.

The St. Clair Shores Fire Department was called to the home around 1:40 p.m. July 2 after a neighbor across the street saw visible flames from the house, said Fire Marshal M. Bodnar.

“There’s extensive damage — fire damage, smoke damage — throughout the house,” Bodnar said, noting July 5 that the cause of the fire was still undetermined, although fireworks have been ruled out.

No one was home at the house at the time, other than the two dogs.

“The fire was going for some time,” Bodnar said. “The dogs died of smoke inhalation, it appears.”

The structure was still stable and standing, although it had not been determined if it would be salvageable or not.

Bodnar said the department also was called for several fireworks-related incidents over the course of the holiday weekend, although only one was found to be credible. Bodnar said the department was called to the 29000 block of Boston at 9:48 p.m. July 3, when a sky lantern got stuck in a tree.

“A group of people lighting them off, and one got on fire in a tree, which is really dangerous because it could have landed on a house,” she said.

St. Clair Shores police had no calls for service, violations or warnings relating to fireworks July 2, and three calls where they could not locate the source of the fireworks July 3 and overnight into July 4. But during the afternoon shift of 4 p.m. to midnight July 4, the department responded to 73 calls for fireworks and issued 36 violations.

There were five calls for service during the overnight hours July 4-5, but no violations were issued.

Deputy Police Chief Steve Lambert said that he was not surprised by the number of violations issued.

“WIth all the problems that this law has created, residents (are) complaining,” he said, referring to the Michigan Fireworks Safety Act of 2011, which allows for the discharge of consumer-grade fireworks in the state on the day before, the day of and the day after 10 specified holidays,  including the Fourth of July. “We understand their frustration.”

In Eagle Pointe subdivision, Lambert said, a neighbor called to report a small fire in his backyard and was able to point police in the direction of the fireworks. Through the officers’ investigation, they were able to track down the resident responsible for the fire and issued a ticket.

“Especially with all the dry weather ... you (have) got to use common sense,” Lambert said. “Some of them come down hot and they’re a fire hazard.”

Nevertheless, he said, “People want to have their fun and they’ll deal with the consequences later. Some of them are dealing with consequences.”

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