Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District and other fire agencies are seeking whoever set off illegal fireworks that sparked a half-acre fire Sunday evening next to Highway 12 in downtown Valley Springs.

The fire was reported about 8:35 p.m. Sunday, and firefighters from Calaveras Consolidated in Valley Springs and Jenny Lind responded with backup from Cal Fire, the fire protection district posted to social media late Sunday.

The fire extended to a stack of lumber in the back of the yard at Sender’s Market Ace Hardware, at 72 Highway 26 in Valley Springs. Firefighters stopped forward progress of the fire before 9 p.m. 

Sender’s Market Ace Hardware sustained an estimated $1,000 in damage due to the fire, Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District said.

“The cause of the fire was determined to have started from illegal fireworks,” the district said. “Fire Investigators are trying to determine who set the illegal fireworks.”

Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District at 129 Highway 12 in Valley Springs can be reached at (209) 772-1268.

The shopping center in downtown Valley Springs is called Valley Oaks Center, home to a Mar-Val Foods grocery store, the Sender’s Market Ace Hardware store, a Dollar General store, a CVS, a Round Table Pizza, a Taco Bell, a U.S. post office, and other businesses, with a Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District station directly across from the shopping center on Highway 12.

A firefighter at the Valley Springs station reached by phone Monday morning said he did not work Sunday and he was seeking more information about the fireworks-caused blaze.

In Calaveras County, so-called “safe-and-sane” fireworks are considered legal. In Tuolumne County and in Sonora, all fireworks are illegal.

Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District posted a photo of the fire scene and a blurry photo of a Big N Bad 12 Shot, also known as a multi-shot firework cake, labeled Winda Fireworks. The label on some Big N Bad 12 Shots includes “WARNING Shoots Flaming Balls” in red letters.

“This Commando-approved cake features 12 big shots of golden palms with alternating red and crackling pistil,” a Kaboom Enterprises description of Big N Bad 12 Shots states online. Kaboom Enterprises is based in Monroe, Michigan. Winda Fireworks say they are distributed by Panda Fireworks Group for the U.S. market. 

Winda Fireworks claims to have “five large-scale factories that produce the best fireworks on the market,” and the company prides itself “on our longstanding business relationships with more than 100 factories spread throughout China.”