Even the pros must follow 4th fireworks safety procedures

Posted: Updated:
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A patriotic evening planned at the Reach 11 Sports Complex was cut short Saturday night by a firework gone astray.

The Desert Ridge community had just started their first ever fireworks show when a fire was sparked nearby.

"Not even three to five minutes in, one went sideways," said Steve Burns, Desert Ridge Board treasurer.

Burns was at the show with his family.

“And then we started to see the smoke billow and we realized there was a problem there," he said.  

The fireworks show was immediately stopped. About 3,500 attendees were asked to leave as flames leaped from a brush patch not 50 feet from the launch site.

No one was hurt.

[READ MORE: Reach 11 fireworks show sparks brush fire in north Phoenix]

"Everybody was still in very good spirits when they left so we were really happy with that," said Burns.

The Phoenix Fire Department estimates about 15 acres of heavy growth mesquite burned by the time they could put out the flames.

Professional firework companies must go through a long list of safety procedures before each show, like watering down the field, and calling the fire department ahead of time so a brush truck and an engine can be on standby.

[RELATED: Firefighters preach precaution to avoid a 4th firework fiasco]

Despite following all these precautions, a fire still broke out.

"I think one of the biggest lessons we can learn from last night is if a professional firework company that has an extensive checklist can have a fire, then that should tell everybody that the amateurs that are lighting them off at home can absolutely have incidents as well," said Capt. Larry Subervi with the Phoenix Fire Department.

[READ MORE: Red, white and blue celebrations light up the Valley]

Subervi says if you plan to have any fireworks at your Fourth of July celebrations, make sure to use legal fireworks only, the kind that do not leave the ground. He adds, only launch one at a time, and keep a garden hose on standby. 

"Hopefully this isn't the last time we do a fireworks display, it wasn't a great first time but it's a great learning experience for us,” said Burns.

[READ MORE: Fourth of July safety tips]

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

Click to learn more about Lauren.

Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

Hide bio

  • Featured VideoMore>>

  • Hundreds of dead fish stink up Maricopa neighborhood

    Hundreds of dead fish stink up Maricopa neighborhood

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 12:58 PM EDT2018-07-17 16:58:11 GMT
    Hundreds of fish showed up dead at a man-made lake in a Maricopa neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Hundreds of fish showed up dead at a man-made lake in a Maricopa neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
    Hundreds of fish showed up dead at a man-made lake in a Maricopa neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Hundreds of fish showed up dead at a man-made lake in a Maricopa neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    "The whole lake was carpeted with fish," Tod Antell said.

    More >

    "The whole lake was carpeted with fish," Tod Antell said.

    More >
  • Avondale couple not happy going solar

    Avondale couple not happy going solar

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 12:58 PM EDT2018-07-17 16:58:05 GMT
    The Chavez family say they feel like they were misled. (Source: 3TV)The Chavez family say they feel like they were misled. (Source: 3TV)
    The Chavez family say they feel like they were misled. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)The Chavez family say they feel like they were misled. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    An Avondale couple says they were lied to about the benefits of going solar so they called 3 On Your Side to get out of the contract.

    More >

    An Avondale couple says they were lied to about the benefits of going solar so they called 3 On Your Side to get out of the contract.

    More >
  • Former Scottsdale school district CFO under indictment breaks silence

    Former Scottsdale school district CFO under indictment breaks silence

    Tuesday, July 17 2018 12:57 PM EDT2018-07-17 16:57:58 GMT
    Laura Smith has stepped down, but she and her attorney argue that we haven't heard the whole story. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Laura Smith has stepped down, but she and her attorney argue that we haven't heard the whole story. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
    Laura Smith has stepped down, but she and her attorney argue that we haven't heard the whole story. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Laura Smith has stepped down, but she and her attorney argue that we haven't heard the whole story. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    The former Chief Financial Officer for the Scottsdale Unified School District has been indicted on fraud and conflict of interest charges. She's accused of approving district payments to her sister's company, and not disclosing the relationship. Laura Smith has since stepped down, but she and her attorney argue that we haven't heard the whole story. 

    More >

    The former Chief Financial Officer for the Scottsdale Unified School District has been indicted on fraud and conflict of interest charges. She's accused of approving district payments to her sister's company, and not disclosing the relationship. Laura Smith has since stepped down, but she and her attorney argue that we haven't heard the whole story. 

    More >