ST. LOUIS – With the Fourth of July approaching, city officials are telling residents to stop shooting fireworks. This comes as investigators blame fireworks for starting a fire overnight at a restaurant in Downtown St. Louis.
Witnesses reported hearing a loud boom around 2:30 a.m. They saw flames coming from the roof of the building. The building, located at Washington Avenue and North 13th Street, has a sign on it for the restaurant Seafood by Crushed Velvet. Inside, equipment and furniture sustained heavy smoke and water damage.
The fire has left some downtown business owners concerned.
“It is so shocking to see something like that. People should be really cautious when it comes to fireworks,” said Aminah Mohammad Ali. “It could be any one of these businesses, you know? This is really scary; it’s so close to my place.”
St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson is again issuing a dire warning about igniting illegal fireworks in the city this holiday season.
“I harp on this every year. There is no safe way for the average homeowner to set off fireworks,” he said.
Although some surrounding counties in Missouri do allow the use of consumer fireworks, the use of consumer fireworks is illegal in St. Louis City and County.
“Throughout the country on average during the Fourth of July season, we see at least $50 million in damages to properties,” Jenkerson said. “It’s crazy. They are illegal in most places and we know they are in the City of St. Louis. So, we are asking everybody to be vigilant and pay attention.”
Fire officials say children are most at risk for firework injuries. Even if parents are supervising, it only takes a split second for fireworks to cause an injury.
“Very dangerous,” Jenkerson said. “Go to the commercial displays. We are going to have a large one in Downtown St. Louis for the entire community.”
And while there will be no gathering at The Landing in Downtown St. Louis, the city’s Fourth of July fireworks spectacular will be shown in its entirety on FOX 2 beginning at 9:40 p.m. Sunday night.