Fireworks caused back-to-back blazes in Pendleton in the hour after the Fourth of July ended.
Pendleton Fire Chief Mike Ciraulo also said both sites had evidence of illegal fireworks.
The city fire department responded Wednesday at 12:03 a.m. to a fire at Northwest Furnish Avenue and 12th Street. Flames fully engulfed a large garbage can, Ciraulo said, and had spread to the side of a detached garage.
After extinguishing the flames, Ciraulo said the investigation showed improperly disposed of fireworks were the cause. He estimated the garage sustained damage in the thousands of dollars. He also said the investigation found remains of mortars from illegal fireworks.
Ciraulo said the occupants claimed they put the used fireworks in water in the container and went to bed about two hours earlier. He said they denied setting off the illegal pyrotechnics.
While the crew wrapped up at the home, they got a call at 12:40 a.m. for a brush fire with plenty of fuel at 701 S.W. 15th St. The burn threatened two houses at Southwest Hailey Avenue and 15th Street.
With firefighters still at the ready, Ciraulo said “we were able to jump on that right away.”
An aerial firework was the cause, he said, and the flames never reached structures.
The Fourth of July holiday weekend was busy for the Umatilla County Fire District in Hermiston, with about six more calls throughout the weekend than last year.
Only one fire, on Northeast Misty Drive, was started by fireworks, according to the fire department. The fire melted the vinyl siding on a portion of the home’s exterior, and one person was cited.