Investigators Look at Fireworks as Cause of Fires

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- An apparent case of fireworks vandalism caused at least $30,000 in damage at one Cedar Rapids home.

(The remains of a 2012 Honda Civic inside a garage belonging to Courtney Woltz. Woltz said vandals tossed fireworks inside an open garage door setting both the vehicle on fire and burning the detached garage beyond repair.)

It started on the northwest side a little after 4:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Police say someone threw fireworks on a porch of one home and against the back door of another.

But the most costly damage happened at 1310 10th Street N.W. when something got tossed inside an open garage door on an alley and burned up both a vehicle inside as well as the detached garage itself.

Courtney Woltz and her husband awoke to the sounds of popping early Sunday morning. She said she immediately called 9-1-1 to report a fire in her garage but then noticed something strange.

Even before she had finished the emergency call, firefighters were already pulling up and starting to put out the blaze.

“Initially, you’re just in a panic and thinking man they’re fast. Then I’m like, they must have seen it from somewhere else,” Woltz said.

That’s exactly what happened.

Firefighters and police began getting calls about vandals shooting off fireworks in the area and arrived to investigate.

Someone put fireworks inside a trash container in a driveway at 1201 11th Street N.W. and that melted the container and set the trash on fire.

Firefighters were already there when they saw the glow from the garage fire less than a block away.

Woltz said the fire destroyed her 2012 Honda Civic automobile as well as literally melting a lawnmower and other items inside the detached garage.

Colton Graves, a neighbor, says when he heard it was someone tossing fireworks he wondered what happened at his home.

“We were thinking maybe they had thrown something into our shed, our garage or even our trash cans. But there weren’t signs of anything,” he said.

A Cedar Rapids fire department spokesperson says an arson investigator has identified two juvenile suspects who may have started the fire with fireworks.

There are no arrests in the case yet.