Incident Type: 
Tuesday, July 4, 2023 - 9:19am
Tuesday, July 4, 2023 - 9:22am
6900 block Watts Road
Madison, WI

The Madison Fire Department responded to multiple fires related to improper use or disposal of fireworks during the July 4 holiday and overnight. There were also a couple of fires that were suspected to be related to fireworks but could not be confirmed as caused by fireworks.

The incidents included a small outside fire with smoking mulch outside of Woodman’s grocery store on Watts Road at 9:19 a.m. Ladder Co. 2 cooled the hot spots with water. Staff heard and saw fireworks used in the area during the afternoon and in the evening. Firefighters found two different spots where fires occurred. Fireworks and/or improperly discarded smoking materials could be to blame for the fires.

At 1:33 p.m., Ladder Co. 7 responded to 4661 Atticus Way for an outside fire. The crew found an area of grass measuring approximately 20x20 feet that had been on fire. A person on site said the fire was started by the use of sparkler fireworks by children, which ignited the grass. The fire was extinguished by the occupants prior to firefighters’ arrival. Firefighters confirmed the fire was out and reviewed the safe use of sparklers, particularly with the dry conditions, with the individuals.

Ladder Co. 7 was later dispatched to Maple Prairie Park at 8:24 p.m. for a grass fire by the basketball courts. Three areas of burned grass were found with spent fireworks on the ground nearby. No one was in the park upon firefighters’ arrival. Firefighters ensured the fire was out and disposed of the spent fireworks.

Another extinguished grass fire due to fireworks was reported at 2461 Old Camden Square at 9:45 p.m. Engine Co. 11 spoke with the individual who had been lighting the fireworks and explained the city ordinances to them. They were receptive to the information and stated they would not be lighting anymore fireworks.

Around 11:00 p.m., Ladder Co. 7 was called again to another fireworks incident, this time at Elver Park where a trash can was on fire. The crew put out a smoldering trash can at the back of the parking lot. They observed that all trash cans were overflowing with discarded fireworks and fireworks packages. Police began clearing people from the park, and firefighters followed to pick up spent fireworks found in the grass throughout the park. Before leaving the park, they soaked all heaping trash barrels to prevent other fires from occurring. The entire operation took about an hour and a half.

Engine 8 also responded to a fire involving a metal trash can at a city park. They were dispatched to Sycamore Park (830 Jana Lane) at 11:40 p.m. Engine 8 put out the fire but could not locate witnesses to confirm whether the fire started with discarded fireworks.

One last fire was called in at 12:36 a.m. July 5, when Engine Co. 12 responded to 1009 Winding Way. Firefighters found what looked like discarded materials from a fire pit, but it turned out to be used fireworks. The trash can, as well as the trash and fireworks, were burned up. Firefighters used about 75 gallons of water to extinguish the fire, wet the surrounding grass, and spread out the ash.

Posted 07/05/2023 - 10:10am

Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer)