As many as 28 people have been reported as suffering injuries -some very serious – after a Fourth of July fireworks malfunction fired the festive explosives into a crowd of people rather than into the sky above. Initial reports claim that the early detonation of one display triggered a chain reaction that resulted in the serious holiday accident.
As many as 10,000 had gathered to watch the display in Simi Valley; those closest to the malfunctioning fireworks were but 800 feet from the side-turned explosives. At least four people were reported to have suffered serious burn injuries in the accident; victims of the celebration aged from 8 to 78.
Bay Fireworks of New York was hired by the local Rotary to put on the Independence Day fireworks display. California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be investigating the blast.
There may have been a problem with the way the company set up the fireworks for detonation based on the domino-like effect that tipped over several live canisters after the misfire. It is possible that a more secure way of keeping the unspent canisters upright could have protected the viewers from burn injuries. The piece that misfired may then have triggered early detonation of other fireworks down the line, but their skyward trajectory could possibly have been maintained.
The misfire occurred just shortly after the fireworks program began. As people noticed the low-hanging explosions, chaos erupted according to several witnesses. People began running and screaming and looking for safety. After the blasts stopped, however, calm was regained and the site was evacuated.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Simi Valley fireworks explosion caused by early detonation,” July 5, 2013