Clark County home catches fire, fireworks possibly to blame

A Washington woman is thankful she and animals she rescues were able to get out safely after her home caught fire Tuesday night.
Published: Jul. 5, 2023 at 9:55 PM PDT
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CLARK COUNTY, Wash. (KPTV) - A Washington woman is thankful she and animals she rescues were able to get out safely after her home caught fire Tuesday night.

It happened in the Felida neighborhood around 11 p.m., according to Rex Ann Wirkkala.

“I was standing on the front porch, watching, because I felt like it was getting a little out of control and all of a sudden it just went up,” said Wirkkala. “It came over and it just took our house. There was nothing you can do. There was nothing I could do.”

She watched as fireworks being shot off got too close to the arborvitae lining the side of her driveway before it caught fire, quickly spreading to her home.

“Somebody off the street ran in and I grabbed two baby kittens and out the door we went to the back and busted the fence out to get out,” said Wirkkala. “It was horrible, but it is what it is. You just got to keep going. I had a lot of animals that I rescue. I got them all out, that was my number one thing. Nobody was hurt.”

She says an 18-year-old neighbor helped her get the animals out her of home, another neighbor catching it all on camera. Staying optimistic, Wirkkala said it could have been worse.

“I mean, we have all done fireworks at some point in our lives, we’ve all had our fun,” said Wirkkala. “When you have residential areas like this I just think it really needs to be watched. I’m not going to be a person trying to stop it, but this could have been a lot worse. I have a husband who has been in the hospital for ten days, he’ll be getting out tomorrow probably. Everything is good there. We will do what we have to do. We’ll bring a fifth wheel down, we’ll do something. My animals are being taken care of right now. It’s going to be a long time before all of this is taken care of.”

Wirkkala said as firefighters got to the scene, they also helped get additional animals out of the home while also putting out the fire.

“Neighbors windows got blown out, two fires across the street from the fire,” said Wirkkala. “The whole roof is gone, it’s caved in. If anyone would have been in that bedroom, sleeping, they would have been burned alive.”

The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office said while the investigation report is not finished, it does appear fireworks were involved in the fire.

“Think twice before you get crazy with the fireworks,” said Wirkkala. “Do it in moderation. I’m sure it wasn’t done intentionally but it’s a horrible, horrible thing. I hope whoever is watching this understands the frenzy and the craziness of it. You got to watch what you’re doing. You got to keep it under control.”

If you’d like to offer help, friends have started a GoFundMe.