Fireworks are being blamed for the fire that consumed a Bucks County home over the weekend and authorities are looking for four teenagers in connection with the blaze.
Late Saturday evening, fire broke out in the garage of a home in the 500 block of Stevens Road in Falls Township and quickly spread to the upper floor, the Bucks County Courier Times reported.
Homeowner Lisa Nollie heard an explosion just before midnight. When she looked out the window she saw flames and a neighbor yelling for her to get out of the home. A neighbor helped rescue her dog, China, the story reported.
The home was destroyed along with a pickup, a SUV, and an ATV. The siding on a nearby home melted from the heat, the report said.
Falls Fire Marshal Rich Dippolito said he is looking to talk with four male teenagers reportedly shooting off fireworks in the area. Three of the them were on bicycles and one was on a skateboard. One of the teens may be named Alex, LevittownNow reported.
“Right now they’re persons of interest, and I’m very interested in speaking with them,” the fire marshal told LevittownNow.
The fire, which was determined to be an arson linked to an incendiary like fireworks, is still under investigation, according to LevittownNow.
Falls Township fire officials: House fire appears to be result of fireworks; teens sought for questioning
By Christian Menno, staff writer
Lisa Nollie carefully wiped away a thick coating of dark gray ash to reveal a photo of her family.
She repeated the process over and over again Sunday, stacking each picture neatly inside the bed of a pickup truck.
But many photos — and countless other items — were lost forever in a fast moving fire that ripped through her Falls home Saturday night.
Authorities believe the blaze began after someone set off fireworks in the driveway of the home in the 500 block of Stevens Road, which ignited the garage and spread to the upper floor.
Lisa's husband Riley Nollie raced home as soon as he got word of the fire that night to find that Lisa and the family dog China had made it out unharmed.
And Sunday he reflected on how lucky he felt to know everyone escaped safely.
"Look," he said, pointing at the partially gutted structure where the couple had lived, along with their son Joshua, since 2000, "this is a thing. You can always replace a thing but you can't replace a life."
Falls fire Marshal Rich Dippolito said Sunday that there were several reports of fireworks being used in the neighborhood. Now four teenagers are being sought as persons of interest in connection with the fire, which could have easily turned fatal "had (Lisa) been sleeping or didn’t hear the fireworks," he added.
Lisa Nollie was startled by the sound of explosions outside the home. There was no sign of smoke inside at that point but when she looked out the window she saw a large orange flame.
She then saw her neighbor yelling for her to get out of the house.
By the time Riley Nollie got to the scene, the fire was already out but firefighters described the extent of the blaze itself, which consumed about half the building. The rest sustained damage from smoke and water. All the windows were broken by fire crews in order to vent the structure.
A pickup truck, an SUV and an ATV were all destroyed.
The siding of a neighboring home about 100 feet away was melted by the heat.
Riley Nollie praised the efforts of the Falls Fire Co. — who were assisted by crews from Morrisville and Levittown — and expressed thanks to his neighbors for coming out Sunday with food and water and several helping hands as the Nollies began the salvage process.
"Without great neighbors this task would be impossible," he added.
Dippolito said police were called to another home Saturday night to investigate a report of fireworks. About 10 minutes later, the first reports of the fire at the Nollie residence came in.
"Based on the evidence we have at this point — all the interviews and witness accounts — it appears to be a malicious act with fireworks," he said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Dippolito at 215-949-9000, extension 250.
"These are serious criminal charges for someone that does something like this," he said, adding that the only fireworks legal in Pennsylvania are small items like sparklers available on the shelves of retail stores.
Overnight Arson Fire Might Be Connected To Illegal Fireworks
Tom Sofield June 4, 2017
Credit: Falls Township Fire Marshal
Investigators are seeking a group of juveniles who are believed to have been shooting off fireworks minutes before a house fire late Saturday in Falls Township.
Fire Marshal Rich Dippolito said he would like to speak with the four male teens – three white and one black, all about 14 or 15 years old – in connection with the blaze that severely damaged the home in the 500 block of Stevens Road. Three of the teens were on bicycles and one was on a skateboard. A witness heard one of the teens calling the name “Alex.”
“Right now they’re persons of interest, and I’m very interested in speaking with them,” the fire marshal said.
While the fire remains under investigation, Dippolito said the blaze was an arson linked to an incendiary like fireworks.
Multiple witnesses reported that they heard fireworks in the neighborhood minutes before the fire broke out. Dippolito said police were up the street from the fire shortly before taking a report from a resident who had fireworks set off on their porch.
The female homeowner, whose husband was at work, escaped after noticing the fire at 11:54 p.m. A neighbor helped rescue the homeowners’ dogs.
Household products in the carport of the home exploded due to the heat of the fire.
Credit: Falls Township Fire Marshal
Aside from heavy damage throughout the house, several vehicles parked in the driveway were damaged and destroyed.
Dippolito said a neighboring home suffered heat damage.
Falls Supervisor Jeff Dence lives less than a mile from the scene of the fire and reported to investigators Sunday that his street had strange fireworks related incidents last week. He said around 10 p.m. last Wednesday he was startled after seeing fireworks set off on his neighbor’s porch. In the moments before the small explosions, he heard someone running down his street.
“If it was Friday or Saturday, I wouldn’t have thought twice about it,” Dence told LevittownNow.com. “It just struck me as strange.”
A short time later, fireworks were set off at another home down the street, which was within walking distance of Stevens Road.
“We’re not going to take lightly to illegal fireworks. In this case, it could have killed somebody,” Dippolito said.
Anyone with information on the identity of the teens – even anonymously – can contact Dippolito at 215-949-9000 ex. 250 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A GoFundMe account was set up to assist the family following the blaze.
The family is also accepting donations of the following at this time:
Women’s M shirt, size 7 pants, and size 7.5 shoes
Men’s L and XXL shirts, size 36 and 38 waist pants, and size 12 and 13 shoes
Amanda can pick up anywhere in the surrounding MCCF area and Terrin has set up a location at his house. Please contact either one of them.