WASHINGTON — DC Fire officials said illegal fireworks destroyed a home on Varnum Street NW Friday morning, leaving four people homeless.
Meanwhile, DC Police confiscated more than 58,000 illegal fireworks across the city the night of the 4th of July.
DC firefighters were called to action at 8th and Varnum in Northwest around 1 o'clock in the morning Friday.
Officials said they had to aggressively fight a fire that was raging on the second floor and in the attic when they arrived.
“All it takes is one firework to land in a location where it can ignite a fire, which apparently happened here," said Vito Maggiolo, the spokesman for DC Fire and EMS. "And especially in a wood frame home, the fire can quickly advance.”
Thankfully, Maggiolo said all four people who lived there and their cat and two dogs made it out without injury.
"You could feel the heat," said Bob Lynch, who lives in the third floor apartment next door. "You could smell the smoke, and I could barely breathe."
Lynch said he and his girlfriend had been watching their neighbors set off the fireworks in the street hours before firefighters woke them up.
His home escaped damage.
“It’s the fourth of July. Everyone loves fireworks. I love fireworks," said Lynch. "We really were enjoying them, and they were shooting them in the streets. It didn’t seem like anything unusual or dangerous.”
However, fire officials said they found a pile of fireworks in front of the house, and they were all illegal--and dangerous.
Maggiolo said if the warning label says something like "shoots flaming balls," it's a good indication that the fireworks are not legal in D.C.
He told WUSA9 that DC Fire confiscated more than 1,000 illegal fireworks overnight.
And, DC Police tweeted out that they recovered more than 58,000 illegal fireworks in District 6 alone. They found even more throughout the rest of the city.
“Would I even buy fireworks in the future?" said Lynch. "Especially big ones or ones from out of state, like would I buy them in the future? I don’t even know now that I’ve seen this.”
One of the people who lived in the house set up a gofundme page in an effort to replace everything they lost.
To find out which fireworks are legal where, check out the following story: