Fireworks spark new years blaze

By Bob Hallmark - bio | email

LONGVIEW,TX (KLTV) - The celebration of the new year very nearly turned disastrous in Gregg County. Fireworks set a field ablaze, threatening a residential neighborhood. It happened around 1 am new year's morning in a wooded area in the 5800 block of McCann Road.

"The biggest concern was for the people in the area prior to the fire department arriving," said Gregg County Fire Marshal David Kidder.

"At first it looked like a house was burning down, then it kind of formed into this big wall of smoke," said area resident Dillon Laminack.

Investigators say a group of adults were shooting fireworks from an area near McCann and Graystone Road, and were not watching where the shots were landing.

"If the fire units had not made a quick attack on this and contained it , there were a number of buildings , structures, houses, it could have been a very severe situation very easily," Kidder says.

Two fires erupted. Longview and Judson metro units arrived quickly. The fire department also had to fight against the wind while began to build the fire and endanger businesses a homes in the area. Rhonda Hawkins made the 911 call after spotting the flames across the road from her house.

"I walked outside to walk my dog and there was a fire across the road, and within a few moments it had spread rapidly because of the wind," she says.

For neighbors, it was frighteningly close.

"It was spreading fast, it was a little scary, it kind of looked like they were getting it out and all of the sudden it started getting so much bigger and it turned into this sea of nothing but flames," says Laminack.

"I was concerned because the direction of the wind could have changed and it could have spread very quickly," Hawkins says.

It was controlled after burning 4 acres. The four people who caused the blaze were cited for reckless damage or destruction. They will appear before a justice of the peace and could face fines of up to $500 for each citation.

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