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Shed fire in Havre de Grace may have been caused by illegally discharged fireworks, officials say

A shed in Havre de Grace burned down late Monday night, and fireworks cannot be ruled out as a cause of the fire, according to the Office of the State Fire Marshal.

The Susquehanna Hose Company was called to the 1400 block of Bayview Drive around 11:49 p.m. Monday and found a shed on fire. The fire was discovered by a neighbor and took firefighters about 5 minutes to get under control, according to the fire marshal’s office.

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A combination of aerial fireworks and bottle rockets that were illegally discharged earlier are possible causes of the fire, Senior Deputy State Fire Marshal Oliver said. The owner was forthcoming with investigators, he said, and while aerial fireworks are prohibited in Harford County, no charges have been filed because fire marshals did not witness the pyrotechnics.

The shed was a total loss, Alkire said, but the most valuable thing inside it was a nativity set. The blaze caused about $20,000 of damage.

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Alkire commended firefighters for acting fast; the heat caused damage to a nearby camper and melted the vinyl siding of the home adjacent to the shed. No fire made it into the home, he said, but it could have “easily” without the fire department.

Going to pubic fireworks displays is the safest way to enjoy Independence Day weekend, Alkire said, and backyard fireworks should be treated with care.

“This is a case of where we always encourage everyone to attend a public fireworks display,” Alkire said. “If you are holding your own backyard display, we would encourage you to have a hose as well as a bucket of water available.”

No firework-related injuries were reported in Harford County over the Fourth of July weekend, Alkire said, which came as a pleasant surprise to the office. Usually it receives reports of at least one fireworks injury every year in the county.

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“This might be one of the first years we’ve had no reported injuries,” he said.

About 77 public fireworks displays were hosted in Maryland between July 1 and July 6, including four in Harford County, Alkire said. At least two shows in Ocean City were canceled after a large amount of fireworks exploded prematurely on the beach Sunday morning.

The rest, Alkire said, went off without a hitch.

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