ST. LOUIS – As temperatures soar, these dry weather conditions are a cause for concern for St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson.
“We’re in fireworks season. We know it. We’re hearing them. I talked to Captain Mosby and he’s hearing them in his neighborhood,” Jenkerson said. “We had three quick fires early this morning and we’re having them late at night. Garages and vacant buildings. We know the fireworks are out there. We know people are playing with them. We’re seeing an increase in fires right now.
“Everything is dry; the grass, the older buildings, the older garages. We’re getting into the barbecue season and people throwing (ashes) in dumpsters. Kids think fireworks go in the dumpster. Whether spent or still smoldering, the fire spreads from the dumpster, possibly to the house.”
St. Louis firefighters were scrambling to extinguish three separate fires Monday morning. Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
As we inch closer to the Fourth of July, Chief Jenkerson has an urgent message on social media for St. Louisans: leave the fireworks to the professionals.
“You’re handing a sparkler to a child and it’s burning at 2,000 to 3,000 degrees,” Jenkerson said. “You put it up to a car and it can burn through the car. And you’re handing that to a 6-year-old child. No. You see hand injuries and it does severe damage to hands, skin, to eyes, to faces. Injuries are number one and we see it every year.”
Jenkerson is reminding residents that fireworks are still illegal in St. Louis City.
“We lost one of our own members about three years ago because of a fire in the house on the Fourth of July,” Jenkerson said. “It concerns us every year because I know the firefighters are going into these buildings and there’s no reason for us to be there, just because somebody is playing with fireworks.”