Tacoma veteran loses home the day before July 4th

VIDEO: Veteran loses home in fire

The Tacoma Fire Department responded to several fires July 3, including two the department said could be linked to fireworks.

But a veteran who spoke only to KIRO 7 says not only did he lose his home, he lost something that can’t be replaced.

Howard Lilienfeld says he realized while he was on the job that his home may have been destroyed, “I basically came home and everything was gone.”

Content Continues Below

Lilienfeld says he received a heart-stopping phone call Tuesday afternoon from his wife who is 12 weeks pregnant. "Her exact words were, 'The house is gone,' and in my head, I'm thinking a house just doesn't disappear. I got more info and found out it was on fire and we lost the house.”

He says his family made it out of their home, but his 2-year-old dog did not.

The Tacoma Fire Department posted photos on Twitter of other fires they believe may be linked to fireworks. In the mix yesterday was also their response to the fire at Lilienfeld's home -- which was a burnt wreck on the 4th of July.

It's a holiday the military veteran admits he has difficulty with, especially the explosions. "When you’re literally 50 to 100 feet away and you can hear it pop and your dog is freaking out as well, that's very unnerving to me.”

Lilienfield can't help but wonder if fireworks touched his home. "Where I live is borderline to Parkland. Fireworks in Tacoma are illegal.”

Being close to the border with Parkland, Lilienfield says he hears fireworks all the time. Flames charred the outside of his home and destroyed the inside.

We spoke to the Tacoma Fire Department which said this house fire is still under investigation and a cause has not been determined.

Lilienfeld says he’s working with an insurance adjuster to help find a new home for his family.

An incident commander at the Tacoma Fire Department said the department was trying to keep track of fireworks-related incidents and fires and hopes to have numbers for us in the coming days.

More news from KIRO 7