Merced firefighter called to his own house fire, fireworks to blame

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A Merced firefighter was displaced on Monday after his neighbors' fireworks sparked a blaze that burned both of their homes. (KFSN)

A Merced firefighter was displaced on Monday after his neighbors' fireworks sparked a blaze that burned both of their homes.

Both homes on Theresa Lane near Phelps Drive suffered heavy damage. Fire officials say a family put used "safe and sane" fireworks in a plastic trash bin, and they went up in flames around 3:30 a.m. Monday. The fire also burned a gas line that became like a blow torch during the incident. It took crews about 30 minutes to get it under control.

The firefighter who lives there was on duty when he learned his house was the one burning. "I think it was disbelief, as it would be with any homeowner, so at that point the badge is pretty much set aside and it was his home," said Batt. Chief Jeff Horta, City of Merced Fire Department.

Officials estimate the damage to the firefighter's house at up to $75-thousand, and say he likely won't be able to live there for more than a month. The other home suffered an estimated $25-thousand in damage.

Firefighters are urging residents to put used fireworks in water overnight before disposing of them, and they are planning to have increased enforcement for the Fourth of July holiday.
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