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Illegal fireworks burned home

Falling embers on July 4th caused $22K in damages

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Illegal fireworks burned home

David Crockett Sr. stands in front of his refurbished yard and pool that suffered bottle rocket damage during the July Fourth celebration of 2010 as well as blistering the paint on his home at a co...

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin


POSTED June 10, 2014 1:51 a.m.

Illegal fireworks almost destroyed a lifetime of memories and the belongings of one Manteca family.

Four years ago on the Fourth of July the Crockett family’s home in Raymus Village just northeast of Manteca sustained $22,000 in damage from the firing of illegal bottle rockets. Some $2,000 of that was to repair their in-ground swimming pool liner that blistered from the extreme heat as did the paint on the back of their house.

Bottle rockets launched from neighborhood yards had been showering houses with embers that night before the Crockett’s row of tall junipers was set ablaze.

This year’s extreme drought is prompting some to question even  the legal use of safe and sane fireworks that were first made possible in the South County 10 years ago when Manteca become the first jurisdiction  to allow them. Ripon and Lathrop have since followed suit.

David and Ann Crockett feared they were going to lose all their physical family memories along with their home when they drove up to their home on July 4, 2010.  Neighbors saw flames through their front bay window that seemed to lick 100 feet in the air at the back of their house.

The couple who had raised their six children in the family home were contacted by phone by an adult grandson staying in the home as they were returning from a family celebration at their son’s home in the southwest part of town.  A neighbor had banged on the front door yelling there was a fire.  Crockett said his wife had answered the phone call telling him, “Go, go, go……our house is on fire.”

He said when they pulled into the neighborhood and onto Navajo Way there were already two fire engines in the street.  The couple feared they had lost everything including photographs of their entire family of six children, of grandchildren and furnishings they had worked tirelessly to add to their home.

Their six-year-old Basset Springer mix had been in a dog run near the burning 20-foot-high junipers and had to be rescued by the grandson.  Flames had been lighting up the night sky bringing Highway 99 traffic to a standstill as motorists and neighbors watched the row of junipers burst into flames spanning the rear of the property next to their swimming pool. 

“We had privacy and a sound barrier from the freeway,” he said where they now have planted a variety of fruit trees along the back fence.  “It was just a short time before the fire that we had our cedar roof replaced with a fireproof roofing material. Embers had blown in under the patio roof and burned some of the chairs.  We could have lost the whole thing – it’s a blessing we didn’t.”

 “People often make foolish choices,” he said. “They don’t think of the consequences – if they would just follow the rules, it would make a difference.”  

He remembers seeing neighbors come with garden hoses from several directions when he and his wife got out of their car.  They were trying to save our home, he said.

Their house was filled with smoke and the fire department brought fans inside their residence in an effort to make it livable.   It did make it possible for them to sleep inside in their own bed that night, he said. 

No one was ever found responsible for the fire and the damage in the neighborhood, he added. 

Crockett said a more recent fire in a field north of their home some two years ago again brought neighbors out of their homes dragging garden hoses behind them toward the blaze.  He noted the weeds in that field have again grown to a dangerous height.  

 

To contact Glenn Kahl email gkahl@mantecabulletin.com or call 209.249.3539.  

 

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1 comment
Coljan: 1 month, 1 week ago

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