Close to forty people suffered personal injuries after a Fourth of July fireworks celebration turned dangerous. A large portion of fireworks exploded prematurely sending shrapnel into the crowd of spectators that were in attendance for the show. An investigation into what happened to cause the accident has shown that it appears that one firework went off on its own and that explosion set off other fireworks and sent them into the crowd of people, however at this time this is just speculation and the exact cause is unknown. Other witnesses claim that it appeared that a rack holding the fireworks fell over, causing the fireworks to activate themselves. Not all of the fireworks for the show went off during the accident, and the local bomb squad was sent in to deactivate the remaining fireworks in order to keep them from also going off and causing more injuries to the spectators.
Of the thirty nine people injured in this accident, all but three were treated and released quickly following the incident, with one injured still being treated at a local burn unit and the other two still hospitalized and listed as being in fair condition.
Many safety precautions are taken for large fireworks shows in order to reduce the chances of accidents and serious injuries to people viewing the show. One of the biggest safety requirements is that crowds are to be kept at least seven feet away for every inch in diameter of the largest firework shell. While this safety precaution is a important way to keep people safe, this specific accident occurred at a distance farther than the required space and does not appear to be a result of fireworks being positioned too close to the public. However, even with all the safety precautions taken some accidents still occur due to the dangerous and often unpredictable nature of fireworks. Over this past Fourth of July weekend, multiple other large fireworks shows across the country reported some type of firework accident in addition to the explosion mentioned above.
At this time why this accident occurred, and what set the initial firework off (if that was in fact the cause), is still unclear. According to Weather.com, the company that put on the fireworks show is properly licensed by the state and does not have any recorded violations against the company. It appears that all current necessary safety precautions were taken, so it is very worrisome that the accident occurred anyway. This accident is likely to lead the National Fire Protection Association to reevaluate the current firework safety standards to determine if additional precautions need to be taken in all instances of large fireworks shows.
Fireworks can be very dangerous, even when used by professionals and when all necessary safety precautions are taken. The personal injuries and extreme damage that can result from setting off fireworks at home can be much more damaging. Please do not set off fireworks at home, as it can lead to serious personal injury as well as severe property damage. If you or a loved one was injured by a firework that was set off by another, or was injured by a firework at an organized firework show, please contact our Chicago office today to discuss what legal options may be available to you and to your family.