SJ resident climbs roof to stop fire ignited by Illegal fireworks

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Illegal fireworks from Fourth of July celebrations sparked fires across the Bay Area late Thursday night and into early Friday morning.

Ronald Malla is smiling now, the day after Independence Day, since his home was spared from a fire burning one house down.

He admits, illegal fireworks can be "fun sometimes." But Thursday night, there was panic, as he spent about 10 minutes on his roof, hosing it down in an effort to keep his home on Luke Court in San Jose from catching fire.

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"Yeah, I was scared. But like I said, I was trying to do my best because all the ashes were going to our house," says Malla. "I was wondering if the roof would catch fire before the fire department arrived."

Malla says just after 11 p.m., a few young kids were out playing with illegal fireworks -- supervised by adults.

Hazel Valencia described what she saw right before the fire started.

"Due to some of the fireworks that were happening, there were some little kids passing by and they threw some fireworks down the street and they thought it would be funny to light the tree up and unfortunately as they were lighting it up, they actually caught a tree on fire," said Valencia.

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Valencia says she quickly knocked on neighbors doors to make sure everyone got out safe.

The fire quickly spread down the row of eight trees, each over 20 feet tall), sparking massive flames that burned high above roof tops, raining down ash and damaging a neighbor's car. The smell of smoke and debris still covers the East San Jose neighborhood.

Malla says he is surprised no homes burned and that no one was injured.

San Jose Fire Department's arson unit is investigating. They did not return requests for comment about the possibility of criminal charges being filed.
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