The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 20, 2012

Blaze outside fireworks warehouse lights up Kansas night

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Some Crawford County residents were held in awe by an unscheduled display Tuesday night when six shipping containers full of rockets and other colorful explosives went up in flames outside the warehouse of a fireworks merchant.

Six area fire departments responded at 6:33 p.m. to the alarm at Jake’s Fireworks Warehouse, about a mile west of Pittsburg on Kansas Highway 126.

Chief Mike Ryan of the Baker Township Fire Department said firefighters had to dodge fireworks while trying to confine the blaze among containers on the north side of the business and keep it from spreading to the warehouse about 30 feet away.

“When we arrived, there were fireworks landing all around the parking lot,” Ryan said. “We had firemen in the line of fire for quite some time.”

He said several employees were at the business when the fire broke out, but none were hurt and the firefighters escaped injury as well.

Ryan said the six fire departments that responded shuttled their tankers into Pittsburg and back to take water to the scene since there are no hydrants out in the county. The Pittsburg, Arma, Sheridan, Crawford Township and Cherokee fire departments assisted Baker Township firefighters.

It took about three hours to bring the blaze under control, Ryan said. While the fire was still out of control, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department shut down the highway to traffic. But the spectacle drew plenty of onlookers, Ryan said.

“Yes, we had quite a few spectators out watching the fireworks,” he said.

He said the cause of the fire remains under investigation by a state fire marshal, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the sheriff’s office.

Fire watch

BAKER TOWNSHIP FIREFIGHTERS stayed overnight to about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday to make certain the fire remained extinguished.

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