Fourth of July

Fourth of July fireworks spark more than a dozen house fires in Chicago, suburbs

At least one of the houses was deemed a "total loss," by officials

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More than a dozen house fires over the Fourth of July holiday in the Chicago area were likely cause by fireworks, authorities said, including one house fire that resulted in "a total loss."

According to the Chicago Fire Department, as many as 13 fires were confirmed to be fireworks-related, with final numbers set to come.

In addition to the house fires overnight, a man was killed in Chicago after suffering "massive trauma" while handling a firework, CFD said.

According to officials, the man, 34, was killed by "delayed ignition of a mortar device."

In Palatine, fire officials responded to car and garage fire overnight, where the cause of ignition was determined to be the "improper disposal of firework debris near combustible materials."

Officials in Lake County also reported at least two overnight residential fires had likely been caused by fireworks.

At 12:50 a.m., numerous fire agencies responded to a structure fire in the 37700 block of Charlotte Drive in Wadsworth, a release from the Lake County Sheriff's Office said. Firefighters fought the blaze for several hours before deeming the home a "total loss," the release said.

According to the Lake County Sheriff's office, the three occupants of the home and their pets were able to exit safely before it became engulfed in flames. Authorities added that the occupants had been igniting explosive fireworks near the home earlier in the evening.

At 1:45 a.m., Lake County Sheriff's Deputies responded to another structure fire, in the 300 block of Goshawk Lane in unincorporated Deerfield. When authorities arrived, they found that the roof of a townhome was on fire, officials said.

Multiple residents evacuated from the townhome prior to it becoming "engulfed," officials said. According to authorities, the townhome sustained major damage.

According to the Sheriff, explosive fireworks were being ignited near the townhome earlier in the evening.

"The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reminds the community that most fireworks in Illinois are not legal," the Sheriff's office said in a press release. "Every year, deputies respond to calls where people have been critically injured or where structures have burned to the ground, due to illegally used fireworks."

Illinois is one of three states that ban some or all consumer fireworks, though they can be purchased in bordering states like Indiana and Iowa. Under the Pyrotechnic Use Act, which was signed in 1942, the purchase, sale and possession of "consumer fireworks" are prohibited statewide.

Illinois residents can however legally possess items labeled "novelty effects," like sparklers, under state law.

Still municipalities can implement an ordinance banning such items. For example, in the city of Chicago, all fireworks, including sparklers, are illegal.

According to the State Fire Marshal, consumer fireworks displays are permitted only in places that have passed measures allowing them. In order to have a consumer display using approved fireworks, a resident must receive training at the local fire department, undergo a site inspection and apply for a permit through a local government agency.

Despite consumer fireworks being available to those who complete the process, the State Fire Marshal strongly recommends residents experience displays put on by professionals instead.

"Fireworks are never safe, and the only thing we can do is mitigate the potential danger," the agency stated.

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