Fireworks did not spark 2-alarm blaze

July 2, 2008 1:39:16 PM PDT
Arson investigators now say a fire that spread to 4 homes in Chester was not set by children playing with fireworks. Police are searching for a juvenile suspect who they say lit the back porch of one home on fire with Tiki Oil and gasoline. The intense flames quickly spread to three surrounding homes.

Police say that the owner of the home came back Wednesday to get the body of the family dog which was found dead in the basement.

The fire moved so fast last night, neighbors were worried it would continue to jump down the whole block.

2 families got out safely. Two of the homes on the 220 block 22nd Street were vacant. In all, 8 people were displaced.

Officials say while battling down the fire they heard what sounded like fireworks exploding.

Most of the heavy fire and smoke crews encountered were in the back of one of the homes.

Chester Fire Chief John Powers tells Action News, "If it was fire works then it's not good. I mean, we don't want to see it. Children were playing in the rear of the building. Probably nobody was watching what was going on. If they get scared and leave, obviously this is what happens? could happen."

This kind of dangerous and potentially deadly situation is exactly what fire officials warn against, especially around the July 4th holiday.

Chief Powers says one firefighter suffered a minor leg injury at the scene, but should be OK.

Officials say while it is unfortunate that homes were damaged, everyone is very lucky that no one was seriously hurt.