Fireworks sparked Northwest blaze, officials say

WASHINGTON (FOX 5 DC) - Like any other friendly neighbor, Bob Lynch always hopes for the best for his community.

That hope was tested early Friday morning.

Lynch was at a 4th of July party Thursday night and got home around 10 p.m. when he saw his neighbors outside in the 800 block of Varnum Street, NW.

"They were shooting off fireworks next door, in the street," Lynch says. "And I actually went up to the balcony and watched. I mean, it's fireworks, 4th of July, why not?"

It seemed harmless, until a stray firework ignited a whole new set of problems.

"Firefighters were ringing my intercom telling me to get out of the house," Lynch says.

DC Fire Dept. Spokesman Vito Maggiolo says prohibited fireworks started the blaze.

"Any firework that goes airborne, that explodes, or that moves is illegal in the District of Columbia," he says.

Maggiolo says these same types of fireworks were also used in the video above circulating on social media.

It happened in Columbia Heights. You can see a stray firework hit the traffic light, causing the street-level explosion.

"Even though these are illegal fireworks, I mean they're meant to go straight up," Maggiolo says. "Theyr'e shooting them sideways, they're shooting them all directions, that's highly hazardous."

No one was hurt from the video, however Maggiolo says two people were seriously injured over the holiday weekend due to illegal fireworks.

As for the house fire, no one was injured but four people were displaced, as well as two dogs and a cat.

The home is now being rebuilt.

It's a process Lynch hopes he never has to deal with.

"Outside of the little things and sparklers, I don't know if I"d buy fireworks if I lived in DC after what happened here," Lynch says. "The big takeaway is that you have to be really careful with them. You have to be careful."

DC police say they confiscated over 58,000 individual fireworks over the holiday.