Fireworks likely caused two house fires in Rogers on July 5, according to the Rogers Fire Department.
One of the residences engulfed in flames was located at the 2400 block of W. Mulberry St., and the other was located at the 800 block of N. C St.
Although the department said fireworks were likely to be the cause of the house fires, they also said a lack of physical evidence makes it impossible to rule an official cause.
“It’s very rare for us to see house fires as a result of fireworks,” said Tom Jenkins, Rogers Fire Chief. “Both of those incidents point towards people doing things in a careless manner or even malicious manner to cause damage.”
The home located on Mulberry Street caught fire just after midnight. The fire started outside the home and made its way up to the attic, officials said.
The residence located on North C Street caught fire just 12 minutes after the home on Mulberry Street and was classified a total loss after the fire was put out, according to the Rogers Fire Department.
“It was burning probably as high as that top telephone wire,” said Robert Allen, a neighbor. “It sounded like people were making those sprinkler bombs. I heard a few of those go off.”
Nichole Akins said she knows the family who owns the house. She said the home was vacant, because it was undergoing renovations.
“They’ve got kids and their bikes got burnt in it,” she said. “Whatever was in the backyard that was on the back porch got burnt.”
No one was injured inside either home, but officials said firefighter Derek Reaves got second degree burns to his face while putting out the fire on C Street.
Tom Jenkins has been the fire chief in Rogers for six years.
“We can’t remember anything like this just in the careers of some people that span decades here in Rogers,” Jenkins said.
A city ordinance allows residents to use fireworks on July 3, 4 and 5. Jenkins said the ordinance is a good one, but added it’s important residents use fireworks safely.
“That ordinance traditionally has produced almost no issues for us,” he said. “Fireworks are not for kids. They are not for adults that are under the influence of alcohol or anything else. If people choose to utilize fireworks they need to do so in a safe manner.”
Bottle rockets and any kind of rockets shot off of sticks are prohibited in the city. Jenkins said the safest way to celebrate the fourth with fireworks is to attend a professionally done show.