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News / Clark County News

Fireworks exact high price on several Clark County residents

Man loses hand; family’s home burns; garage catches fire

By Becca Robbins, Columbian staff reporter
Published: July 7, 2022, 5:59pm
3 Photos
Maderious Cash in a hospital after having his right hand amputated from a fireworks accident. His grandfather said Cash was holding a firework and didn't mean to light it when it exploded in his hand.
Maderious Cash in a hospital after having his right hand amputated from a fireworks accident. His grandfather said Cash was holding a firework and didn't mean to light it when it exploded in his hand. (Photo contributed by Traneese Cash) Photo Gallery

Local fire officials have not yet released their reports on fireworks-related blazes and injuries over the Fourth of July weekend, but according to online fundraisers, a Vancouver man lost his right hand, a woman’s garage caught fire and a family of six lost their home.

The family of 19-year-old Maderious Cash say he accidentally lit a firework while holding it Sunday in east Vancouver. They are raising money for his medical bills and the cost of a prosthetic hand after he had his dominant hand amputated.

Cash’s grandfather, Ronald Cash, called the explosion “a freak accident” and said his grandson didn’t realize the match was so close to the fuse while he was holding the firework.

He said his grandson worked for Walmart and is devastated that he won’t be able to work.

“Maderious is a very loving, caring and hardworking individual,” the GoFundMe campaign states. “This accident has changed his life drastically, and we, as his family, want to make sure he lives as close to a normal life as possible.”

Ronald Cash said he knows how dangerous fireworks can be and that the family usually watches professional fireworks shows. He said his grandson was being careless, and he knows he regrets it.

Ronald Cash warns others of the dangers of fireworks and said he hopes officials will do even more campaigns about safety with the explosives.

People can donate to the family’s GoFundMe at gofund.me/97f0fe6d.

Residential fires

Dee Mello was woken up on the Fourth of July to dozens of arborvitae lining her driveway and her garage on fire in Acres Mobile Estates in east Vancouver.

She, her son and her dog escaped the house, and her son was able to get her motorcycle and tent trailer out of the garage, Mello said. Everything else inside, including her camping gear and food storage, was destroyed. The side of her mobile home was also damaged, she said.

She believes teenagers playing with Roman candle fireworks on the next street over caused her trees to catch fire.

When she woke, Mello, 62, said all that was going through her head was that she was going to lose her house, and she can’t afford a new place.

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Now, she considers herself “very lucky and blessed” that she only needs to rebuild her garage and the roof over her back patio.

“It could have been a whole heck of a lot worse than it was,” Mello said. “I have to be thankful it was just my garage and not my home and not the whole neighborhood — which it very easily could have been.”

She used to enjoy shooting fireworks when her children were young, she said, but now spends the holiday inside with fans running to comfort her dog during the explosions.

“I think fireworks can be a lot of fun, but there are too many houses and too many people, and they’re getting dangerous,” she said. “They just fly so uncontrollably, and people aren’t as responsible as they used to be. And that’s pretty sad.”

Mello’s daughter created a GoFundMe, to Mello’s surprise, to help her rebuild. The fundrasier can be found at gofund.me/ea1aa04a.

Another family whose house in the Five Corners area was hit by fireworks Monday was displaced, according to their GoFundMe campaign.

The family of six, including two children, was able to escape their home, but they lost everything inside, the fundraiser states.

“They where left without any clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc.,” states the GoFundMe organized by Vanessa Casillas Iniguez. “We’re still not sure what else was damaged, but they have nothing but what they have on. They will need help with paying a high insurance deductible to cover the house repairs and help them get by for the next couple of months.”

People can donate to the fundraiser at gofund.me/62f8e851.