FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – After Fort Worth’s holiday fireworks display was canceled due to grass fires, the city’s fire chief said Tuesday he doesn’t know if the event should or shouldn’t have started.

Grass fires on the Trinity River levees around Panther Island were among more than 250 fires reported in the city between July 4 and the early morning hours of July 5. The overwhelming numbers forced the department to sort through the situation, reaching out to callers and online reporters for more details about the fires so crews could determine which ones to respond to.

Fire Chief Jim Davis was concerned about dry conditions and fireworks more than a month before July 4, but said organizers of Tuesday’s public show had prepared according to national fire safety standards.

The Tarrant Regional Water District mowed the grass to four inches and watered the established area with sprinklers and a pump.

Davis said grass fires are a common occurrence during large fireworks displays and are usually quickly extinguished by pyrotechnic teams. However, they ran out of the water they use six or seven minutes into Monday’s show.

“Then the fire was looking at the mortars, the cakes, the fireworks themselves that were actually going off,” Davis said.

Fire and water damage to the mortars forced the cancellation of the show due to potential misfires that could affect spectators or venue personnel.

Most of the brush fires around the city were small, and many were put out by residents before firefighters could get there.

Davis said investigators are looking into the possibility that the fire, which damaged an apartment building near Western Center Boulevard on the north side, may have been started by a sparkler.

In Tarrant County, Fire Marshal Randy Renois said 32 grass fires related to fireworks were reported, with one larger than an acre.

Renois said there was one serious injury in the southern part of the county around Rendon. A tub with a mortar overturned, and the projectile hit a man, who had to be taken to the hospital by helicopter.

MedStar reported the treatment of three patients. One suffered burns, another suffered an eye injury and one was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital with a significant arm injury.

Davis said the city has also issued more than 30 citations for possession or lighting of fireworks within city limits. That’s well above the total for 2021, and comes after city council members urged public safety to issue more tickets.

There could be up to 40 additional links due to the new effort to use technology to pursue offenders. Fire officials said last week they plan to try to combine information from fireworks complaints with city camera video and license plate scans to identify violators and mail them citations.

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