AURORA, Colo. (KDVR) – Fourth of July fireworks exploded in an Aurora neighborhood on Monday night. A homeowner said the fireworks caused a fire to spark in his backyard and as a result flames spread to two of his vehicles and his fence.
The flames were captured on Ring video along with neighbors frantically trying to put them out.
The fire started in Aaron Garcia’s backyard and narrowly missed his home. He said the flames were just a few feet from reaching the gas tank of one of his vehicles and it could have caused a large explosion.
Although Garcia lost material items, he’s sharing his loss, so people understand the dangers of fireworks.
Garcia said large, loud, and illegal fireworks rocked his neighborhood near Central Park into the wee hours of the morning.
“They were the really heavy-duty mortar explosions,” Garcia explained.
On Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the fire, Garcia showed FOX31 what was left of his beloved red 1996 Bronco.
“It’s disheartening. I’m broken. I hate looking at it at this point,’ Garcia said. “It’s a total loss for me. I can’t really recoup anything.”
The windows are shattered, the interior burnt and charred, and tires melted. The red Bronco carried sentimental value to Garcia. He shared that he and his brother spent several weeks fixing up the old car, which included a new paint job and interior only for it to be destroyed on his own property.
“Everybody should be able to feel safe on their own property. The past year or two it just hasn’t felt that way,” Garcia shared. “I’m heartbroken about these things happening and I know they’re material things but, in the end, you should be able to enjoy a nice hobby, you bond with your brother. It’s just disheartening.”
A not-so-happy Fourth of July for Garcia
He said he spent the day at Estes Park and was driving home when suddenly at around 9 p.m., he began receiving frantic phone calls from his neighbor who was telling him that his car was on fire.
Although he wasn’t home at the time, Garcia’s home security camera captured every moment. It shows flames and smoke pouring from his backyard.
“The neighbors had been exploding some illegal fireworks that were going up in the air,” said Garcia. “There was a group of 15 to 20 people out in the alley with loud music and sometimes those fireworks would just explode on the ground. They wouldn’t even make it into the air, so you’d see these massive explosions happening at ground level. It’s very dangerous and I was worried for my safety at one point.”
The fireworks were going off dangerously close to his property in an alley. On Tuesday, FOX31 visited that alley, where evidence was still on the ground, including lighters, wrappers and red dynamite.
Garcia said sparks from the illegal fireworks ignited near his Bronco and quickly engulfed it and then spread to a second car parked nearby that’s been in his family for 15 years and was gifted to him by his father.
“It’s a heartbreaking experience,” said Garcia. “It’s sad to see it go up in flames.”
A group of residents saw the flames and one person jumped over the fence to find a water hose and eventually others kicked it down, but with popping noises crackling, the fear of an explosion sent them running away until fire crews arrived to put out the flames.
But the culprits didn’t stop, according to Garcia. He said after the fire was put out, fireworks in the alley continued until 1 a.m.
“It’s still disheartening when you aren’t able to trust your own private home to safeguard your property,” said Garcia. “Just stay away from the illegal fireworks and leave that stuff to the professionals.”
Garcia said his homeowner’s insurance will pay for the burnt and broken fence, but the two cars were not fully covered with his car insurance and are considered a total loss.
On the Fourth of July, Aurora Fire and Rescue responded to:
- 4 car fires
- 25 brush fires
- 100 EMS calls
- 10 dumpster fires
- 4 structures fires
- 7 crashes