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Jul-03-2012 21:40printcommentsVideo

Salem House Fire - a Reminder of the Need for Firework Safety

Kids were spotted by a neighbor playing with fireworks shortly before a house fire broke out.

Paola Samosa - Witness to fire in Salem, Oregon
Paola Samosa observed youths playing with fireworks just before the house fire broke out. Video and photo by Jerry Freeman

(SALEM) - A house fire this evening in Salem at 4316 San Francisco Dr NE, reminds us of the very serious danger the 4th of July represents across America. Many people have lost their lives when fireworks ignited homes; far more have been injured.

Tonight's fire, located at the intersection of Hollywood Drive NE and San Francisco Dr NE, appears to have to caused a relatively minor amount of damage. While it has not been confirmed, the word at the scene is that the people got out and were OK.

The story became interesting when a neighbor, Paola Samosa, stopped and told Salem-News that she had driven by the scene before the fire started, and observed a small number of boys playing with fireworks.

The fire appears to have started in the bushes; they are near an arbor vita shrub line that goes up to the house.

The house received visible damage, however neighbors were fighting the fire close to the onset. Plastic siding is melted off the house and in one area, the wood is charred. The grass behind the shrub line area is also burned.

Regarding fire danger, John R. Hall, Jr. with the National Fire Protection Association's Fire Analysis and Research Division, wrote in June 2012:

    In 2010, 8,600 fireworks-related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. The trend in fireworks-related injuries has been mostly in the range of 8,300 to 9,800 since 1996, except for spikes in 2000, primarily due to celebrations around the advent of a new millennium, and in 2004, and a sharp drop in 2008. The highest injury rates were for children aged 5 to 14. In 2010, an estimated 15,500 reported fires were started by fireworks. These fires resulted in an estimated eight reported civilian deaths, 60 civilian injuries and $36 million in direct property damage. In 2010, five out of six (83%) emergency room fireworks injuries involved fireworks that Federal regulations permit consumers to use. The risk of fire death relative to usage shows fireworks to be more risky per hour of use than cigarettes.


Jerry Freeman is part of a new generation of dedicated news photographers who entered the Internet news industry as a second career. He shares in common with many people who fulfilled their life dream of becoming a visual journalist. Joining the Navy at an early age, and the Oregon Army Guard a few years later, Jerry has a wide range of life experiences. He describes himself as “a truck driver with a new found passion to bear witness to the world’s events.”

Teaming up with he embarked on a new career as a video news photographer and reporter. Jerry's quick exhibition of natural talent and ability to shoot breaking news led to his becoming a published member of the team.

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