Southwest Side garage blazes prompt warning against efforts to legalize fireworks in Chicago

Half of Wednesday morning’s garage fires were sparked by “pyrotechnics,” the Chicago Fire Department said.

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Sun-Times Media

Chicago fire officials pushed for fireworks to remain illegal Wednesday after they were blamed for several garage fires on the Southwest Side.

“We need your help to keep [fireworks] illegal,” Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt told reporters, noting there have been efforts in Springfield to legalize them in the city. “We can’t control everybody with fireworks, but we can help save some lives.”

Firefighters were called to the 5700 block of West 64th Place around 1 a.m. Wednesday and found six garages on fire, police and fire officials said.

“Every year, we push the message out time and time again. Leave the fireworks to the professionals,” Nance-Holt said. “As we can see, that doesn’t happen all the time.”

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The department says it received over 300 calls in a 24-hour period, with 14 of them involving fire investigations. Eight of those investigations involved fireworks.

No serious injuries were reported, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford, who said debris found on West 64th Place led the battalion chief and crews to determine that three of the fires were sparked by fireworks or “pyrotechnics.”

Langford took a look at the wreckage: “Three are pretty much destroyed and two more suffered what appears to be probable repairable damages.”

The houses next to the garages sustained “radiant” heat damage to their sidings but did not catch on fire, Langford said.

No other details were released.

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