Family displaced after firework catches Magna home on fire

Jul 24, 2022, 11:14 PM | Updated: Jul 25, 2022, 9:42 am

MAGNA, Utah — A Magna family is sharing a warning for others after Unified Fire said a neighbor’s firework caught the family’s home on fire, leaving the entire house with heavy smoke and water damage.

What should be a fun, relaxing Pioneer Day holiday weekend for Luewanda Martinez has been nothing but stress.

On Sunday, she returned to the home she had to suddenly leave Friday night to see what she could salvage.

Standing in her room, Martinez pointed to giant holes in the ceiling made by firefighters trying to extinguish flames in the attic. The floor was wet with water. Her cousin’s room, which sits adjacent to Martinez’s room, is a complete disaster, with insulation everywhere. Tarp covers the fact that her cousin no longer has a roof over her room.

“It’s horrible. I don’t like it,” Martinez said, grabbing the sleeve of a sweatshirt that hung on a hook. Even belongings like the sweatshirt that don’t appear damaged wreak so strongly of smoke that it’s hard to tell if Martinez can keep them. “I just want to come home, but I can’t. I can’t come home.”

Martinez and her husband live in a mobile home owned by Martinez’s cousin in the Sunset Vista mobile home park off of 8400 West in Magna. She described how she was home with her husband, cousin, and cousin’s 7-year-old granddaughter late Friday evening, getting ready to settle down for the night when they could smell smoke and realized it was coming from their house.

“I was like, ‘There’s a fire outside! There’s a fire outside!'” She recounted. “And I just started panicking really, really bad, and I was trying to call 911.”

Everyone else ran outside, she said, and Martinez’s husband and cousin grabbed the hose to try to start putting it out. She said the neighbor behind them also grabbed a hose.

Martinez explained how she took her cousin’s granddaughter away from the fire and onto the street as they waited for firefighters.

Unified Fire Authority Aaron Lance explained that their crew quickly put the fire out and figured out what happened.

“Our investigators found out that it was started by fireworks that had landed inside the property of this residence,” Lance said. “They did determine it was not the residents lighting the fireworks off, it was from an adjacent resident– I’m not sure which one.”

He said their investigation division is still working on the case.

Lance said the fireworks were lit just inside an area that is not fireworks restricted, but Martinez said the mobile home park put notices on their doors, asking people not to light them off.

She and Lance urged people to be careful and avoid lighting off fireworks. Lance said it’s been hot and dry, and winds can carry sparks up to 100 yards away.

He said anyone lighting off fireworks should be mindful of where they are and dispose of them properly afterward by soaking them in water for at least 24 hours.

The damage may be mostly at one end of the house, but the entire home is unlivable because of the smoke and water.

Martinez explained that the Red Cross is putting up the three adults and one cat in a motel room for now, but they aren’t sure when they’ll be able to return home and what they can save.

She’s hoping whoever is responsible for displacing them faces the consequences.

“It sucks, it hurts. It hurts that somebody would be so irresponsible,” Martinez expressed. “Why couldn’t you just light some fireworks somewhere else, or just don’t do them at all?”

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Family displaced after firework catches Magna home on fire