Child Dies After Firework Burns Down Pennsylvania Home Over July 4 Weekend

A child died and another was injured after a firework led to a blaze that completely destroyed a property in Pennsylvania over the July 4 weekend.

Numerous fire crews were called to the 1500 Block of West Poplar Terrace in West York Borough at around 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 3.

Firefighters arrived to find a duplex style house on fire. They removed one child and two family pets, as other members of the family had already gotten out of the house.

Two boys suffered burns and were taken to a specialty center, but the West York Borough Police Department said one of them later succumbed to his injuries and died.

“The cause of the fire was determined, by a Pennsylvania State Police Fire Marshall, to be of accidental origin, and related to how fireworks had been discarded,” police said in a statement.

Both properties in the duplex were completely destroyed in the fire, with an estimated value loss of $300,000.

Police said the tragedy occurred despite the fact that fireworks can’t be legally used anywhere in West York Borough or the state.“Under Pennsylvania fireworks law, especially pertaining to aerial fireworks, there is no area in West York Borough where they are legal,” West York Borough Police Chief Matt Millsaps said, according to the York Daily Record. “It’s just reckless disregard for your neighbors.”

It’s not yet known if any criminal charges will be brought. The West York Borough Police Department has been contacted for comment.

Elsewhere, a GoFundMe set up on behalf of the family has already raised more than $44,000.

Fire crews from West York, West Manchester, York City, Dover Twp, and the surrounding municipalities responded to the blaze, with law enforcement support from West York, West Manchester and the Pennsylvania State Police.

Increase in Deaths and Injuries

In June, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a report that found there had been a 50 percent increase in deaths and injuries from fireworks-related incidents in 2020, compared with 2019.

Last year, there were at least 18 people who died from fireworks-related incidents, compared with 12 in 2019. The report also found that about 15,600 people were treated in hospital emergency departments for fireworks injuries in 2020, compared to about 10,000 ER-treated fireworks injuries in 2019.

The rise in fireworks-related injuries and deaths has been attributed to the cancellation of public displays across the country amid the COVID pandemic. There was a surge in people using their own fireworks to celebrate Independence Day.

“These tragic deaths and injuries are reminders of just how dangerous fireworks can be,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Robert Adler. “Consumers should enjoy professional fireworks displays from a distance, and be extra vigilant when using consumer-type fireworks.”

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