GREENVILLE — Authorities have named fireworks as the cause of a Friday evening fire that heavily damaged a garage and left neighbors on edge.
At approximately 10:45 p.m., emergency personnel from the Greenville City Fire Department responded, along with Greenville Township Fire and Rescue and officers from the Greenville Police Department, to a residence at the 300 block of 13th Street in reference to a fully involved structure fire.
According to the Greenville City Police Department, a preliminary investigation into the incident revealed a resident of the property had been observed setting off fireworks at the rear of his property.
The resident, identified as Eric Hemmelgarn, placed the remnants of the fireworks in a steel drum that then ignited a fire within close proximity of the detached garage. Firefighters arrived at the scene to find the garage with heavy smoke and flames showing.
“I tried to put the fire out,” said Hemmelgarn. “I admit, I thought it was safe to put them in the barrel and it caught fire. I used a garden hose and tried to put the fire out until the fire department got here. I appreciate everything they have done for me tonight.”
A neighbor commented, “This has been an ongoing issue for the last few weeks. The police have been here several times and he just keeps shooting off fireworks. What if next time it’s my house or anybody else’s house at that. What then?”
A Greenville Police Department officer confirmed there have been several calls to the area over complaints of fireworks being set off.
The fire has been ruled accidental in nature due to fireworks and will remain under investigation by the Greenville Police Department and the Greenville City Fire Department.