Fireworks spark east Charlotte house fire

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Fireworks from a New Year's celebration are to blame for a house fire in east Charlotte Monday morning.

According to the Charlotte Fire Department, the incident happened at a home on Salamander Run Lane around 6:19 a.m. Firefighters said there was heavy smoke visible on scene.

Carlos Lopez said he and his relatives set off about 8 small fireworks on the  back deck before midnight to celebrate the new year.

"We had a ceramic plate just to prevent anything  - sparks or burning the wood" and he said they made a point to clean up. 'Even after we cleaned them up, we made sure there was nothing on the floor."

Lopez says the family went to bed around 4am. Everything seemed fine.

"We went to sleep and I woke up to the sound of crackling thinking somebody was making noise," he said. "I come around looking in the kitchen, I see the fire and tried putting it out with water and I noticed more fire outside."

Lopez said that's when he realized the fire was bigger that he thought and couldn't handle it alone anymore.

He called fire department and got his relatives out of the house.

Firefighters believe the blaze started in the back of the home. The fire department tweeted that it took 23 firefighters to control the fire.

Lopez says he now knows that despite all the precautions they took before and cleaning up after, the fireworks still caused trouble.

"You have to expect anything even when you think you take care – like you're being cautious – even the smallest thing that can make a big problem," he told WBTV. "One rogue spark went away from where we thought it would have been and it just started growing and smoldering and we didn't notice it. For about 4 hours we didn't notice."

Lopez says to make matters worst, their smoke detectors and house alarm never sounded.

"Due to so many things working in the worst way possible it got a little bit out of control," he said, adding that they scrambled to put out the fire with a hose at the spigot.

"There was a hose connected to the faucet but both of them were frozen. The water couldn't come out quickly enough for us to put it out."

The people who lived in the home were displaced, crews said. The fire caused $20,000 in damages, according to firefighters.

The Red Cross is assisting the displaced occupants, according to the fire department.

No one was injured in the fire.

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