Montgomery County

DC Fire & EMS inundated with hundreds of calls on Fourth of July

DC Fire and EMS received 835 calls on Thursday night. Almost 300 of them were non-EMS related, just focused on fires.

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Even though the Fourth of July is now over, celebrations — and fireworks — are continuing over the weekend.

Local fire departments already had a busy night. The citywide fire operation's command center for D.C. at Engine Company No. 16 responded to a grand total of 835 calls.

D.C. Fire and EMS says that's more than three times the typical number of calls they get in a typical day.

"The sun goes down and the informal fireworks really begin, often the illegal fireworks," said Vito Maggiolo, spokesperson for DC Fire and EMS. "We are just racing from fire to fire, extinguishing fires."

D.C. firefighters responded to more than 800 calls for help on the Fourth of July. News4's Mark Segraves spoke with the fire chief about his concerns ahead of the rest of the holiday weekend.

Nearly 300 of the calls on Thursday were non-EMS related — just focused on fires.

“Many of those calls for fire emergencies [were] presumably related to fireworks — trash fires, brush fires, all sorts of miscellaneous outdoor fires," Maggiolo said.

Departments can't yet say how many of Thursday night's calls were related to fireworks, but at least two destructive fires in Montgomery County, Maryland, were caused by Independence Day festivities gone wrong.

Fireworks present serious dangers in hot and dry weather conditions. There were a number of fires sparked by fireworks in the D.C. area, but no injuries were reported. News4's Juliana Valencia has more.

In Aspen Hill, Maryland, a home caught fire overnight.

Photos from Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Services showed the burned-out hull of the dining room, where flames tore through an entire wall.

The charred aftermath showed the interior of the kitchen and dining area in the home as though it were a blackened dollhouse.

No one was hurt in the fire.

MCFRS said that aerial fireworks caused the fire, which spread through the attic and the carport, totaling about $500,000 in damages.

Over in Glenmont Forest, also in Montgomery County, discarded fireworks caused a fire outside a home, fire officials said. There were no people injured in the fire.

Photos from MCFRS showed scorch marks on a brick wall, as a firefighter hosed down an unidentifiable puddle of blackened sludge.

"We are geared up for the weekend, [and] we want to remind people fireworks are prohibited," said Pete Piringer, MCFRS spokesperson. "But more importantly, they cause injuries."

That ban on fireworks includes sparklers, which can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit — an even bigger danger in drought conditions like those in the DMV region this week.

Areas in Maryland, including Charles County, have burn bans in place until more storms soak the region.

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