Discarded fireworks caused a house fire with over $1 million in damage in Rockville on the Fourth of July. Credit: Pete Piringer

Updated 4:00 p.m. to add details and photos from a Wednesday afternoon press conference with MCFRS Acting Fire Chief John Kinsley and Captain James Bise.

Fireworks lit up the Montgomery County skyline Tuesday night in celebration of the Fourth of July while two unauthorized discharges led to two houses catching fire in Rockville and Montgomery Village, tweeted Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Pete Piringer.

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, MCFRS Acting Fire Chief John Kinsley said that most of the fires caused by fireworks he has seen have been from “spent” or discarded fireworks.

At 10:45 p.m., MCFRS personnel were dispatched to a three-story house at the 15100 block of Rosecroft Road in Rockville for “heavy fire conditions,” Piringer tweeted.

According to Piringer, the house had sprinklers and most of the fire was extinguished by 11:30 p.m. The family, including three adults, one child and a dog were able to get out safely. Additionally, a firefighter sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

The fire was caused by a plastic bag full of discarded fireworks, which were purchased outside of the county, Piringer tweeted. Also, he added that fire investigators found multiple camping-style propane tanks that exploded near the origin of the fire and that there were many reports of explosions before and after units arrived on scene.


Piringer tweeted that there was “significant damage,” amounting to around $1.25 million.

Also, Piringer tweeted that earlier in the evening after 10 p.m., fire personnel were dispatched for a townhouse fire at 19700 Green Village Drive in Montgomery Village. Piringer added that the fire was contained in the garage due to residential sprinklers, there were no injuries reported and the damage was estimated to be around $1,000.

There was a “large bag of spent mortar style fireworks” found in the garage, so the fire was likely caused by a firework being shot from the garage area or a firework being improperly discarded, Piringer tweeted.


Piringer also tweeted that fireworks caused outdoor fire incidents in Rockville, Gaithersburg and Silver Spring.

Purchasing, possessing and discharging fireworks without a permit is illegal in Montgomery County. Penalties for violating this law include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail.

During the Wednesday press conference, MCFRS Captain James Bise also said that no one has been arrested or charged for possession or discharge of illegal fireworks over the past couple of months. He added that the fire department tries to educate people, rather than impose punishments.


He said MCFRS’ occasional arrests occur when a repeat offender, like someone who has had fireworks confiscated before, continues to disobey the law.