The cause of a Grover Beach apartment fire that sparked Wednesday night remained under investigation Thursday, but fire officials said two other structure fires on the night of Independence Day were caused by fireworks.
The star spangled evening
was busier than usual for the fire department, which responded to three structure fires over just a couple of hours.
"We’re always worried about the 4th of July, especially with the amount of illegal fireworks shooting up in the air; they’re highly illegal and dangerous," said Five Cities Fire Authority Chief Steve Lieberman. "We’re always counting our blessings that call volume doesn’t really increase. Unfortunately, last night brought an end to that streak."
Five Cities fire crews found the apartment complex on South 14th Street engulfed in flames.
One woman remained hospitalized Thursday with injuries she sustained acting in a way Lieberman calls "heroic."
"This person along with a couple gentleman ran up the stairway to make sure both apartments were clear, kicking in doors and using fire extinguishers," said Lieberman. "It’s more than most of us would do."
As crews worked to fight the flames at the apartment complex, two more calls came in from Arroyo Grande: one on Calle Carmen and the other on Newman Drive.
"Apparently they were both caused by the improper storage of used or expended fireworks," said Lieiberman. "People had enjoyed their fireworks show, put them in a bucket, forgot to fill bucket with water, placed them against a home or outbuilding. Those fireworks are still warm and combustible and that’s what happened."
Those fires were put out in a matter of minutes, but Lieberman said the calls still stressed and already busy department.