Illegal Fireworks Blamed for $95,000 Stanton Fire

Times Staff Writer

A blaze started by an illegal “bottle-rocket” type of fireworks destroyed the shake roof of a Stanton home Saturday afternoon and caused an estimated $95,000 in damage, Stanton firefighters reported.

The home at 12151 Brittany Lane is owned by Mitsucho Aoki and his wife, Eiko, firefighters said. No one was injured, but Stanton Fire Capt. Philip Connolly said that Eiko Aoki suffered chest pains, “probably from stress,” shortly after the blaze was brought under control. She was taken by a Stanton Fire Department ambulance to Midwood Community Hospital, where she was treated and released.

Connolly said that the shake roof was “totally involved” and already consumed by the fire when firefighters from Stanton, Anaheim and the Orange County Fire Department raced to the scene at about 4:15 p.m. Neighbors had tried to stop the fire with garden hoses.

The fire is believed to be the first fireworks-related blaze in Orange County this year. Later in June, as the 4th of July nears, fireworks-caused blazes become more and more common.


“It’s a little early for this sort of thing,” commented Stanton Fire Chief Jerry Hunter at the scene. “We have evidence that it was started by fireworks. Safe and sane fireworks are legal in Stanton, but not the kind of device that started this fire.” Hunter said a red-painted stick that had been attached to the rocket was found by firefighters.

Hunter said that the blaze was brought under control within 15 minutes. Connolly noted that while the fire was contained to the roof, “when the roof fell in, it fell onto the rooms below and caused a lot of damage. . . . They’re going to have to do a lot of rebuilding.” Connolly and Hunter estimated total damage to structure and contents at between $90,000 and $95,000.

Ruth Miksch, who lives at 12150 Autumn Lane, behind the fire-stricken home, said she heard three fireworks explosions shortly before the fire. She and her husband, Frank, were among neighbors who unsuccessfully tried to douse the roof fire by using garden hoses.

“The heat was intense out there in my backyard,” she said. “We saw the red stick from the fireworks after firemen had hosed it off the roof. This was a graphic indication to us of what’s going to happen on the 4th of July.


“Every 4th of July, we sit out by our house with a hose ready. And I guess it’s not being paranoid because look what happened here.”

She said she thinks that the tragedy to her neighbors’ house happened because “somebody in the neighborhood probably went down to Mexico and purchased some fireworks early.”