Illegal fireworks to blame for fire that burned 3 homes, neighbors say

Jul 3, 2023, 5:00 AM | Updated: Oct 18, 2023, 2:54 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — A large fire that burned three properties on Copperhill Drive broke out Saturday evening.

Neighbors said illegal fireworks sparked the flames around 10 p.m.

“I heard them going off, but we hear them all the time,” homeowner Steve Hogan said. “[Saturday] night was a little more than usual.”

He said a passing motorcyclist alerted him to the flames.

“He said, ‘Your backyard’s on fire,’” Hogan recalled. “Luckily, I had come out with a hose and kept it off the shed.”

Hogan said the fireworks were set off at a property that sits behind his, across the canal separating the two houses.

“We got regulations,” he said. “They weren’t even supposed to be doing them before (July 2), and they’re illegal fireworks anyway. This looked like Liberty Park here last night.”

Hogan’s next-door neighbor, Sara Dennis, was awoken by another neighbor, Emily Davis, who spotted the flames.

“I was watching them go off, and I knew that they were ones that should not be done in the neighborhood. They were really big, and all of a sudden, I noticed there was smoke in between these two houses, and I took off running,” Davis said.

Dennis was sleeping while the flames were spreading in her backyard.

“My phone rang, and she told me, ‘Get out of your house,’ I thought I was dreaming,” Dennis said. “She’s like, ‘Your house is on fire!’ and then I walked out to the garage, got in my car, pulled it across the street.”

Dennis’s fence was torched, and her shed and some of the belongings inside were damaged, as well as the exterior of her house.

“It’s melted the siding, and the windows are cracked,” Dennis explained.

She said she’s grateful for her neighbor who awakened her but called the incident traumatizing.

“Left me with a mess, but I’m glad I’m alive,” Dennis said.

Hogan said he understands the appeal of fireworks but wishes people followed the rules.

“If you want to see them, go over to the parks where they have them,” he said.” I understand people want to have fun, but good lord, where does it stop?”

According to Utah State Regulations, fireworks can be discharged between July 2-5 and July 22-25, between 11 a.m.-11 p.m. The West Valley Fire Department is still investigating the official cause of the fire.

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Illegal fireworks to blame for fire that burned 3 homes, neighbors say