Central Texas firefighters respond to dozens of fires amid Fourth of July holiday

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 6:05 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Despite warnings and pleas from area officials to not use fireworks this Fourth of July, firefighters say it was a night of constant patrolling and putting out fires.

“We saw the same number of calls with regards to fireworks complaints, but actual fires we saw a big increase this year compared to the last two years,” Killeen Fire Chief James Kubinski said.

Killeen firefighters responded to 21 grass fires attributed to fireworks and two mutual aid calls, including one at Stillhouse Hollow Lake.

Stillhouse Hollow Lake fire
Stillhouse Hollow Lake fire(Killeen Fire Department)

“Additionally a fence that was caught on fire due to fireworks and a house that had some melted siding,” Fire Chief Kubinski said.

Fire Chief Kubinski says they more than doubled the number of responses due to fireworks compared to last year.

In Temple, it was a similar story.

“We had several grass fires get started, over 17 last night,” Temple Fire Chief Mitch Randles said.

Killeen estimates about 100 different types of fireworks were confiscated. In Temple, thousands of dollars of fireworks were picked up.

Officials say they are not trying to put a damper on the holiday but the fire risk from drought is just too high right now.

“Once they get going, they really have an explosive growth potential so what may be a very small fire to start with or may seem like a minor fire could turn into a major fire and destroy homes and injure people very quickly,” Fire Chief Randles said.

However, not everyone had the same experience in Central Texas.

In Waco, officials say they had a relatively quiet night.

Overnight, there were three trash fires, two small grass fires, and one incident that involved two sheds, two fences, and a van that burned at 1801 Marquita St.

Waco officials say they cannot confirm that these were due to fireworks at this time.

Also, Waco Fire says there was a small number of fireworks confiscated compared to past years and no citations were issued. They believe this was due a number of factors including citizens understanding the dry conditions we are experiencing, fireworks stands being closed due to the county ban, and the collective messaging from city leaders.

Lacy Lakeview’s fire chief says they didn’t do any runs Monday night.

Copperas Cove says they responded to three fires, all outside of city limits.

“Last night we had quite a few less than years passed,” Copperas Cove Deputy Fire Chief Gary Young said. “It leads me to believe our citizens are being responsible.”

Officials say they are thankful for everyone who did their part in keeping Central Texans safe and going forward they ask that people continue to take extra precautions due to dry conditions.

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