Home destroyed by illegal fireworks, family urges Eugene to act

Home destroyed by illegal fireworks, family urges Eugene to act »Play Video
Firefighters battle the July 2013 fire that destroyed the Chavez family home

EUGENE, Ore. - The Chavez family lost 51 years of memories last July when illegal fireworks landed in a bush near their home.

The fire spread, destroying the home and its contents.

"It was so unnecessary that our house burned July 5, completely destroyed because of fireworks," the Chavez family said in a letter read to the Eugene City Council on Monday by neighbor Randy Zimmer. The Chavez family couldn't attend the meeting.

The City Council discussed the issue of illegal fireworks at its meeting Monday.

Neighbors of the Chavez family called on the Council to do more to halt illegal fireworks.

Fireworks that fly through the air are already illegal in Oregon.

Enforcing the law can be an issue.

"The law enforcement people have testified that they don't have enough people to come to every neighborhood," said Mary Ellickson, another of the Chavez family's neighbors.

The question for people who sell fireworks: will the city make fireworks that are currently legal illegal?

From June 23 to July 6, Aaron Taylor runs more than a half dozen firework stands in Eugene and Springfield.

"If we can't police the illegal ones, when we make more illegal ones, how are we going to police every single kid with a sparkler?"

Taylor said banning all fireworks is extreme.

"I have horses and I have goats," he says. "I have chickens and dogs, And all of them don't like loud noises too, but that doesn't mean we take away everyone's freedom."

The Council did not vote on the issue. They say tmore work needs to be done before a decision can be made.