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May 28, 2015

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$1.5 million apartment fire yields plea to turn in unused fireworks

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Conor Shine

Clark County Fire Chief Bertral Washington speaks during a press conference on Friday during which he asked all valley residents to turn in their unused fireworks to the fire department.

In the wake of an apartment fire that displaced about 50 people and left three badly burned, the Clark County Fire Department is asking valley residents to turn in any of their unused fireworks for safe disposal.

Fireworks are believed to be the cause of a Thursday night fire at the Sonoma Shadows apartment complex, 1550 Karen Ave., near Maryland Parkway and Sahara Avenue, said Fire Chief Bertral Washington. The fire caused an estimated $1.5 million in damage and sent four people to the hospital, including a firefighter.

A preliminary investigation shows the fire started outside one of the two apartment buildings before spreading to a barbeque propane tank, which caused the fire to grow and quickly engulf both buildings, officials said.

A separate fire on July 3 that caused $150,000 in damage to a home and displaced five people also is believed to have been started by fireworks, Washington said.

“If in fact fireworks caused this fire yesterday, this will be one of the most costly and largest fires as a result of fireworks that our department has seen in the recent past,” he said. “It serves as a costly reminder to us of just how dangerous fireworks can be.”

Possession of fireworks after July 4 is illegal, and the department is asking residents to turn in any unused fireworks, “no questions asked,” Washington said.

“We would just ask that you please bring the fireworks here,” he said.

Residents can bring their unused fireworks to County Fire Station 18 at 575 E. Flamingo Road for safe disposal. Laughlin residents can take their fireworks to Fire Station 76 at 50 E. Laughlin Circle Drive.

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