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Family Hopes for Firework Restrictions

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EUGENE, Ore. — The city of Eugene is discussing a hot topic once again after a north Eugene couple lost their home last summer. The discussion of banning fireworks is back on the city council’s table and they’re asking to see some changes.

Karoline and Tony Chavez are rebuilding their home after it was destroyed by illegal fireworks just after July 4. Every inch of the charred fence along the side of this north Eugene home, reminds the Chavez family of July 5, 2013.

“Well it’s a mixed bag. It was a terrible experience,” Chavez said.

They sat and watched helplessly as over 50 years of memories and the home they built, went up in flames.

“Our house being destroyed has left us homeless and we will be living at the Residence Inn for a whole year,” Chavez said.

Their house caught fire after illegal fireworks burned the arborvitaes, which spread to the house. Although the Chavez family don’t believe the city should ban all fireworks, they are asking for change.

“What we would like to see is fireworks banned from residential neighborhoods and they should take place in a safe place so everyone enjoys them, but people in their homes don’t have to worry,” Chavez said.

Fire officials say there aren’t many restrictions on where you can set off legal fireworks.

“Currently, according to city ordinance and state law, there are no restrictions on where you can use fireworks,” said Alan Gerard, Eugene-Springfield Fire Marshal.

“We’re glad to be alive. We’re lucky to be alive but something needs to happen,” Chavez said.

Karoline and Tony are anxiously waiting to start new memories in their new home and hoping what happened on July 5, never happens to anyone.

“We would like something good to come out of this. We don’t want other people to experience what we’ve experienced. Our lives have been upside down, inside out. It’s terrible,” Chavez said.

The next step now is to hold a public hearing, but a date hasn’t been set yet. An option discussed at Monday night’s city council meeting is to include fireworks in the Eugene Social Host Ordinance, but no decisions were made.

The Chavez’s new home is expected to be finished on July 4.

To see a list of legal and illegal fireworks, click here.

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