A firework sparked a fire in a tall tree Wednesday night that sent embers drifting in the breeze for blocks and threatened to ignite the homes in the surrounding neighborhood.
A quick response from the Turlock Fire Department was able to keep the flaming tree from igniting any other homes.
The fire was reported around 9 p.m. Wednesday in the 2200 block of Roth Way. While responding to the call, firefighters spotted burning embers several blocks away from the scene.
The first firefighters to arrive at the scene were greeted by a tower of flames fully engulfing a 60-foot Italian Cypress tree that had embers blowing in all directions.
Turlock firefighters initiated fire attack and quickly extinguished the main fire inside the tree. Engine companies also canvased the area, checking the surrounding homes for spot fires and smoldering embers on roofs which could ignite future fires. Smoldering embers were found and extinguished on the roofs of multiple residences and in trees a fair distance from the main fire, according to Turlock Fire Department spokesman Kevin Tidwell.
The investigation into the cause of the fire led to the discovery of a burned firework inside the tree.
Turlock Fire Chief Robert Talloni encourages the public to take all necessary precautions when using consumer fireworks, and to remember that only fireworks with the State of California Fire Marshal approval are legal to use in the City of Turlock. Fireworks that fly into the air or explode are considered illegal and are highly dangerous, as shown by the tree fire.
A total of four engines and one battalion chief responded to the incident, for a total of 13 personnel.
This incident remains under investigation. Any inquiries or information regarding this investigation can be addressed by contacting the Fire Marshal at 669-2119.