Illegal fireworks eyed in fire that destroyed Long Island home, killed dog

Stacey Sager Image
Tuesday, July 6, 2021
Illegal fireworks eyed in fire that destroyed family's home, killed dog
Tashana Small says she felt helpless as her closest friends lost everything on the night of July 4, all because someone set off illegal fireworks.

PATCHOGUE, Suffolk County (WABC) -- An illegal firework may have sparked a fire that destroyed a family's home on Long Island and claimed the life of their beloved pet.

Neighbor Tashana Small says she felt helpless as her closest friends, the Cajamarca family, lost everything on the night of July 4.

She told Eyewitness News two brothers and their families who lived on Thorne Street in Patchogue, a total of eight people, are now without the home they lived in for more than a decade.

Their family dog, Shayla, was killed in the blaze.

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Video posted on social media appears to show illegal fireworks being set off on the block and is now being looked at by investigators.

A shrub adjacent to the family's home went up in flames first and quickly spread.

In fact, if it wasn't for 18-year-old Christopher Cajamarca, who woke his family when he felt the heat, it could've been far worse.

"He ran and got his parents," Small said. "And thank God they were able to get out of the house."

Cousin Edwin Cajamarca said that thankfully, half of the family had gone out to a carnival.

"Before they left, everything was good, calm, nothing crazy," he said. "But then, the fireworks started, the whole house ended up on fire."

The investigation is ongoing, but so far, no arrests have been made.

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The dangers of illegal fireworks are highlighted every year around the Fourth of July, but even now, well after the holiday, people are still reporting them going off in their neighborhoods.

"Finally, they got a good landlord that fixed everything for them," Small said. "They were very happy, and now this."


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