Illegal Fireworks Spark Three-Alarm Fire in Antioch

Illegal fireworks are believed to have caused a three-alarm fire that damaged a pair of homes in Antioch late Friday.

The fire started at 6:20 p.m. as a vegetation fire on the 5000 block of Wagon Wheel, near the intersection of Indian Hill Drive and Morgan Way, according to the Contra Costa Fire Department. The blaze then spread to nearby homes, damaging the roofs of two, before it was contained.

No one was injured, but officials say Roman candles are to blame. Wooden shake roofs and gutters filled with leaves also contributed to the spread of the fire, but an army of residents saved the day, officials said.

"Today is a relatively low fire danger day," said Fire Marshal Robert Marshall. "It’s not quite as warm, humidity is up, but even a small fire can do a lot of damage."

A frightened Sherrell Butterfield ran down to her parents' house and was greeted by a field on fire. 

"When we came, all we saw was this fire, smoke and it was just fast, and we did what we could," she said.

Her neighbors did the rest, fighting the fire with garden hoses before emergency crews arrived. 

"When we ran over here, it was three houses on fire," neighbor Lamar Davis said, recalling also that one was "going like crazy."

To that, William Ford added: "It was moving this way and it finally came down. If it didn’t come down in a matter of two minutes, this would have all caught on fire ... "

Someone charged with setting off illegal fireworks in Contra Costa County could potentially be made to fork over the entire cost of fighting the fire, officials said.

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