Spark erupts near Tualatin fireworks tent

Firefighters point to this as example of how fast fires can spread

A brush fire burned outside a Tualatin Safeway, July 3 2015. (KOIN)
A brush fire burned outside a Tualatin Safeway, July 3 2015. (KOIN)

TUALATIN, Ore. (KOIN) — A brush fire that quickly sparked almost engulfed a fireworks stand in Tualatin and burned some bushes near a Safeway.

The fire, which began shortly before noon near the Safeway at 17779 Boones Ferry Road, was just feet from a retail fireworks tent. Flames shot 15 feet into the air.

“Someone from the parking lot yells, ‘There is a fire in the bushes!'” said Randy Kossak. He knew if his fireworks tent caught fire there would be an extremely dangerous problem.

“It happened within a minute,” he said. “It was not controllable.”

He did what he could. “I grabbed the fire extinguisher and just ran over there and I unloaded all the fire extinguishers in our tent on it.”

Laureli Heider saw the fire from across the street and took some pictures. She said, “There were a lot of people at the fireworks tent and the fire was moving pretty fast.”

She called 911.  The flames were “about 10 to 15 feet high, about 25 feet wide,” she said.

Others who called 911 reported they saw a youth with a smoke bomb that started the fire. Firefighters, though, said other reports said it was a cigarette.

“Just a small ignition source can double the size of a fire in a minute, which is what we’re dealing with,” said Stefan Myers with Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.

Firefighters across the region have been warning that sparks from fireworks can spread very quickly under these hot and dry conditions.

TVF&R crews will be out with officers this weekend patrolling for illegal fireworks. But even the small legal fireworks should be avoided — and they point to this fire as a perfect example of why.

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