The west-coast heat wave which extended into yesterday’s 4th of July activities led to an unprecedented number of accidents and injuries which have left dozens injured, and caused millions in damages. Too many still seem unaware how fireworks work. Fireworks are little more than colored fire, and when fireworks explode onto hot, dry terrain, chaos is inevitable.
The largest firework disaster happened in Southern California where a firework display gone wrong resulted in 20 people being hospitalized. Firework accidents in, Colorado, Seattle and Chicago also resulted in catastrophe.
In the California incident, fireworks exploded too close to the ground and sprayed hot flame over numerous spectators. According to reports, the fireworks suddenly began to shoot sideways into the crowd instead of into the air as expected. A similar incident happened in Colorado where fireworks misfired and set trees ablaze. Luckily, no one was injured in that incident.
In Chicago, more firework misfire led to serious injury including the loss of one woman’s foot. Just like in other areas, the fireworks fired horizontally and struck the two women as they watched from the park. Both women are in serious condition at a local hospital.
And lastly, yet another misfired firework struck a series of boats in Seattle, causing them all to burn down. 14 boats valued at 1.5 million were destroyed in the ensuing blaze.
All of these disasters are notable as they happened via “safe” firework displays at public areas. In the past, 4th of July firework tragedies have centered on private use of often illegally purchased fireworks. It remains to be seen how these recent disasters will affect the use of fireworks in any regard going forward.