Tulsa Fire Dept. Reports Large Increase In Independence Day Fires

Tuesday, July 5th 2022, 5:05 pm

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Tulsa firefighters had a busy weekend responding to the fires caused by July 4 celebrations.

The number of house and grass fires skyrocketed this year compared to one year ago. Firefighters said there was no 'down time' this Independence Day. Andy Little with the Tulsa Fire Department said this is an example of why fireworks are not legal within city limits.

“The fact is fireworks are dangerous. Gun powder is dangerous, and accidents can happen,” said Andy Little, Tulsa Fire Department. "As far as the City of Tulsa is concerned and the Fire Department is concerned, we want to prevent loss of property. We want to prevent injury, and we want people to be safe."

This Independence Day the Tulsa Fire Department said it responded to 3 apartment fires, 2 building fires, 1 car fire, 21 dumpster fires, 44 grass fires, 10 house fires, and 1 shed fire. That's a 150% increase in house fires when compared to 2021 and a 780% increase in grass fires from last year.

"What if they lost their house? What if somebody died," said Little?

Little said several of those fires were firework-related.

"I don't believe that they're malicious so they wouldn't really fall into the arson category. They would fall under more of an accidental category,” said Little.

Firefighters said there were multiple medical emergencies yesterday including a child who was burned.

"I'm told it was from a firework explosion that may have caused some injuries to the face and maybe chest area,” said Little.

Plus, one man had a very serious hand injury.

"From the report, it said that it was pretty significant. That they weren't certain that his entire hand was there,” said Little.

Little said sometimes, people think they have a dud, then pick it up, or toss it, and the firework ignites.

"We had multiple homeowners saying, 'We were popping fireworks, and then we went inside. You know, so they thought those were extinguished but they ended up catching the house on fire,” said Little.

He said the heat doesn't help.

"The grass is dry. It's hot. All those right ingredients to occur, for that fire to start,” said Little.

Little recommends going to a professional show where Tulsa Assistant Fire Marshals are on hand, ready to respond if needed.