Vancouver resident who lost garage after fire caused by firework urges safety on the 4th

Fireworks are now on sale in Clark County ahead of the 4th of July, but they remain illegal inside Vancouver city limits.
Published: Jun. 29, 2023 at 11:02 PM PDT
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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) - Fireworks are now on sale in Clark County ahead of the 4th of July, but they remain illegal inside Vancouver city limits.

A Vancouver resident who lost her hedge and garage in a believed firework-caused fire last year stressed safety ahead of the holiday.

“I don’t have a problem with fireworks, I really don’t,” said Dee Mello. “But you have to be careful.”

This week, FOX 12 caught up with Mello at her home in East Vancouver.

“It feels good to kind of have it back to normal,” Mello said. “It’s also a little bit scary with the bushes down. I feel vulnerable. I left them up. I didn’t let them cut them all the way down. And partly to leave them up because it shows people this is what happens.”

The scorched trees that created a hedge blocking her trailer and garage from the road are still visible, but she has a new garage.

“I got to see the family that came together to help clean up, right down to my ex-husband,” Mello said. “Him and my son were fabulous to come and help me clean up and rebuild. I had other family that helped come and clean up . It was quite the day. My son and my ex really helped rebuild as you can see. I just got the paint on in the last couple of weeks.”

Inside the garage she keeps her trailer and motorcycle. When the fire broke out and spread to her old garage last year, her son ran inside to get her motorcycle out to avoid a possible explosion from the gasoline.

“Since last Wednesday I’ve probably put 750 miles on the bike,” said Mello. “I’m very thankful he was able to save it. It’s my happy place.”

Ahead of 4th of July, Mello is urging safety.

“I want people to have fun, be thankful for the 4th and remember what it’s about, but please be very careful and think about your neighbors. I live in a mobile park and they go up like match sticks. It could have been disastrous last year. If you do them, be careful. Keep water around. Be careful where you are pointing them, that’s all I want. So no one has to go what I went through or worse. I’m thankful it was just my garage, I have wonderful people around me, and I had insurance. Enjoy, but be safe.”

As a reminder, the sale and use of fireworks inside Vancouver city limits is prohibited. Violators could face a $500 or more fee.