SACRAMENTO — The Fourth of July, a holiday celebrating freedom, instead has some Sacramento neighbors feeling like prisoners in their own homes.
For the third time in recent years, a July 4 fire sparked at one home on Plover Street near Arden Mall. The homeowners blame ongoing illegal fireworks displays.
The cleanup for Soledad Barada and Samuel Platero at the home they share with their four boys is only just beginning. Each year, they can’t celebrate the Fourth — they feel they have to hunker down.
“It sounded like a war out here. All the fireworks going off,” said Platero.
What’s left behind is a mess: a charred yard, melted trampoline and destroyed plants thanks to a fire that spread quickly across their backyard as the illegal holiday displays boomed on into the early morning hours of July 5.
“The house was vibrating. You could hear the windows buckle, sounding like it was about to break,” said Platero.
“All of our neighbors tell us the same thing,” said Barada.
Firefighters were able to put that fire out before it spread to their home, but Barada believes the fire likely impacted six properties. Platero and Barada say this is the third Fourth of July fire at their home in recent years.
“The first time was the front house. The second was the garage, and now it’s the yard,” said Platero.
They even went to the extreme preparing for the worst, sending their three oldest kids away for the night to keep them safe.
“Now that we experienced this all over again, it brings all the emotions that we did the right thing,” said Barada.
The mother of four was so worried she even packed a go-bag of important documents in case their home caught fire and they had to flee. Her hunch was spot on.
Now, it’s a costly mess.
“We can lose our insurance, we can lose our home. How could we afford to replace that house?” asked Barada.
Their home insurance premium previously increased and they were even denied coverage a while back before finding a suitable coverage option, thanks to the two fires before.
“I’m scared to even file a claim on the insurance. It’s going to build our insurance even higher,” said Platero.
As illegal fireworks made their early debut in the weeks before the holiday, the family says their calls to Sacramento’s illegal fireworks hotline fell flat.
“He was calling every single day and no one answered,” said Barada of Platero’s attempts at a solution.
The Sacramento Fire Department runs that hotline. The agency told CBS13 that on July 4 alone, around 1,989 calls came into the line. It’s staffed by volunteers and backlogged due to the sheer volume of calls.
“Who do we go to? Who is going to respond to us?” asked Platero.
Fear on the Fourth, year after year. Their only hope now is for a firecracker crackdown.
“Our politicians need to do something,” said Platero. “We have families here, kids here. It’s not safe.”
Alice J. Roden started working for Trending Insurance News at the end of 2021. Alice grew up in Salt Lake City, UT. A writer with a vast insurance industry background Alice has help with several of the biggest insurance companies. Before joining Trending Insurance News, Alice briefly worked as a freelance journalist for several radio stations. She covers home, renters and other property insurance stories.