Teens cause 2 fires at Gaffney apartment complex with fireworks, firefighters say


GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – Three teenagers are accused of causing two separate fires at the same apartment complex in Gaffney in less than a week.

Fire officials said both fires were caused by fireworks.

“The last couple 4th of Julys, here in Gaffney, we’ve seen some pretty significant injuries and we’ve had a few fires,” Gaffney Fire Marshal Billy Bishop said.

Unfortunately, the Gaffney Fire Department said this time of year can be busy for them.

“We expect to run a few more calls around this time of year, the 4th of July, especially with fireworks and all that stuff,” Bishop said. “We don’t run a lot of structure fires that are caused by fireworks. We get a lot of grass fires and things like that.”

It’s not often that they respond to the exact same place, for what they believe to be the exact same reason, in just a matter of days.

“We’ve responded to Limestone Courts at least three times in the last four or five days,” Bishop said.

In less than a week, the Gaffney Fire Department put out two fires there.

They said both were caused by fireworks–at a place where fireworks shouldn’t be.

“This one was used in a very heavily populated area with a lot of people and a lot of buildings, and it’s just the recipe for disaster,” Bishop said.

Firefighters told 7 News, people at the apartment complex were shooting fireworks at each other when the fires started.

“You can read any firework’s label on the back that the manufacturers put and none of them say ‘shoot at a person’ or ‘shoot at a vehicle or building,'” Bishop said.

They believe that’s what happened on Tuesday night and again on Saturday night.

Investigators said three 15-year-olds, who don’t live at Limestone Courts, were shooting fireworks, which caused the roof of the same apartment building to catch fire both times.

“Some of the charges that these juveniles are facing include malicious damage to property and unlawful use of fireworks,” Bishop said. “Those charges could have been a lot worse. They could’ve included arson and things like that.”

The department now has a message for the community.

“We’re not against fireworks at all. We just want people to use them safely,” Bishop said. “We don’t want to see people get hurt and we don’t want to see them lose property–that’s the last thing we want.”

It’s illegal for anyone under the age of 16 to possess or shoot fireworks in the City of Gaffney, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian; so, fire officials told 7 News the kids’ parents could also be held responsible.

The Gaffney Fire Department told 7 News, it’s a miracle there were no serious injuries in either of these incidents; however, one woman did have to seek medical attention after she was hit by a firework.

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