Fireworks Sparked House Blaze, Officials Say

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CLEVELAND -- Marie Krofta woke up to use the bathroom just after 5 a.m. Thursday, and it's a good thing she did, because she saw her Kimmel Road duplex was on fire.

"Grabbed the kids, ran out and called 911. My daughter started yelling, 'Fire' and they say that's how they woke up," Krofta said.

A separate family lives upstairs.

A woman, who is eight-months pregnant, along with two children and two more adults, struggled to make their way out of the burning building.

"Nothing but smoke was all I was able to see," said one of the upstairs victims, who did not give her name.

"My daughter, she was hurt, and my granddaughter and my grandson, they are all at the hospital," she said.

Krofta said the family upstairs escaped through a window.

"They had to break the window to get out, so they got cuts," said Charita Lester Johnson, a relative of the upstairs family.

Krofta said her upstairs neighbors were all released from the hospital by Thursday afternoon.

Both Krofta and Cleveland Fire Department officials believe the fire was started by fireworks.

"There were a lot of fireworks coming from the street out there, and somebody said there were fireworks coming from the back of the house too," Krofta said.

"Every year, we discuss fireworks and the potential dangers, and sometimes we win, and, unfortunately, sometimes we lose," said Larry Gray, with the Cleveland Fire Department.

The irony to this story is Krofta and her family went to watch the safe, professional fireworks display on the 4th, when hours later, amateur fireworks destroyed their home.

"I think, you know, professional fireworks are fantastic, but I don't trust amateurs, because this is what happens," Krofta said.

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