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Fireworks started fire that destroyed two Maple Ridge homes
A group of teens playing with fireworks set a pair of homes ablaze Friday night in east Maple Ridge.
The fire started around 10:40 p.m. outside a house in the 11400 block of 234A Street, but quickly spread to a neighbouring property.
Fire chief Dane Spence said the fire was sparked by fireworks, which were being lit in the backyard of one house.
One of the fireworks started a small fire under the porch, which rapidly raced up to the roof, then engulfed a home next door.
The glow of the large fire could be seen from the Golden Ears Bridge.
Both homes were completely destroyed in the blaze, but no one was injured.
Spence said residents of the house where the fire started alerted neighbours to the fire.
“Everyone was outside by the time crews arrived,” he added.
The Pitt Meadows Fire Department was called in to help Maple Ridge crews extinguish the fire.
Since 2005, the sale, purchase and lighting of fireworks in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows has been restricted to individuals who hold a certificate from Natural Resources Canada’s Explosives Regulatory Division. The course costs $100.
The fireworks bylaw allows RCMP, bylaws officials and firefighters to ticket offenders with fines of $1,000 for selling fireworks and $200 for setting them off without a permit.
None of the people who were lighting fireworks on Friday had a permit.
Friday’s fire demonstrate how dangerous fireworks can be.
“I don’t believe they can be used safely on a small lot,” said Spence.
“If we needed proof that the bylaw is necessary or not, this is exactly what we are trying to avoid.”
An insurance expert said since teenagers were lighting the fireworks, it’s most likely their parents will be liable for the damage the fires caused.