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Quiet Fourth for firefighters

Firefighters responded to a number of fireworks-related and other blazes on and around Independence Day, but fortunately nothing proved to be serious.

Oak Harbor Battalion Chief Ray Merrill said members of the Oak Harbor Fire Department had a relatively quiet Fourth of July and responded to only two fireworks-related blazes.

“We had a beach fire reported at Windjammer Park and a grass fire on SW 8th Avenue,” he said. “The fire on the beach was in some wood and the grass fire burned a patch that was about 10 by 10 feet in size. Neither of them is even worth talking about.”

On Thursday, firefighters were dispatched to a fireworks-related blaze at a residence in the 1100 block of SW Klickitat Avenue that could have been serious.

Merrill said fireworks from the previous evening apparently got into the beauty bark at the base of a bush adjacent to the residence.

“They smoldered for awhile and eventually caught the bush on fire,” Merrill said. “This, in turn, caught several other bushes on fire and brands from the fire landed on the residence’s cedar shake roof setting it ablaze. A neighbor noticed the fire and called us.”

Merrill said the neighbor sprayed water on the burning roof prior to the fire department’s arrival.

“There were still some spot fires when we got there and we were at the scene about an hour-and- a-half making sure everything was out,” he said.

Merrill said one engine, one ladder truck and a command vehicle were dispatched and he estimated the damage to the structure at approximately $2,000.

Members of the North Whidbey Fire Department were dispatched to eight fireworks-related fires on the Fourth of July.

“None of them were major, but a couple of them could have been,” Chief Marv Koorn said.

One of them involved fireworks being shot into a shrub that was right next to a residence on Carl Avenue.

“It flashed the shrub completely and just left the burned branches,” Koorn said. “Fortunately, the house didn’t catch fire.”

Koorn said the other calls were for small fires in backyards or in brush in wooded areas.

“It shows it’s getting dry,” he said. “We are not too long from having a burning ban if the weather stays this way.”

In Central Whidbey, firefighters responded to a small brush fire that sparked in the woods next to Mickey Clark Field located near Coupeville Elementary School Tuesday.

Capt. Robert Spinner of Central Whidbey Fire and Rescue, said the fire started at approximately 4:30 p.m. By the time firefighters arrived on scene, the fire had burned a 6-foot-by-6-foot piece of land before they extinguished it.

He said the fire was started by candles that were left lying in the woods. He added the candles were apparently left by people who appeared to be camping in the area.

On the Fourth of July, firefighters responded to a report of a 20-foot-by-20-foot brush fire near Harrington Lagoon around 4:30 p.m. Residents extinguished it before firefighters arrived.

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