Fireworks likely started fires that destroyed 2 Lake County homes: officials

Two homes in Lake County were destroyed in fires on the Fourth of July, likely due to nearby fireworks, officials said Friday.

Around 12:50 a.m., a fire broke out at a home in the 37700 block of Charlotte Drive in Wadsworth. Three residents of the home and their pets were able to exit the home before flames engulfed the entire structure.

Firefighters battled the blaze for several hours, but the home was a "total loss," according to the Lake County Sheriff's Office. Further investigation revealed the residents had been lighting explosive fireworks near the home earlier in the evening.

Roughly an hour later, a townhome caught fire in the 300 block of Goshawk Lane in unincorporated Deerfield. Several residents escaped the home before it became engulfed in the blaze.

Firefighters applied water to the fire, but the home sustained "major damage," officials said. There were reportedly fireworks being ignited near the townhome earlier in the evening.

The Lake County Sheriff's Office urged the public to leave fireworks to professionals who have the necessary permits.