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California Fireworks Accident Injures 28

Craig McClellan

In our last blog post, we wrote about the dangers of fireworks, focusing on what people could do to prevent injuries from their own firework displays. But what happens when a community fireworks display goes horribly wrong?

That is the question many are asking after a wooden fireworks platform fell during a Fourth of July fireworks event in Simi Valley Park. The fireworks, meant for the night sky, instead jettisoned toward the crowd, hitting and injuring 28 people. Four people are currently in serious condition.

"There was a big boom," one fireworks observer explained to the Los Angeles Times, "everybody started running down the street, people were screaming. Everybody was just terrified. People hid in bushes."

Authorities believe the fireworks accident was caused by premature detonation of at least one firework, causing other fireworks to explode and the platform to tip. The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other officials will investigate the incident further to determine why the firework detonated early.

Depending on the results of that investigation, those injured in the fireworks accident may be able to bring personal injury lawsuits to seek compensation from the fireworks manufacturer, the organizers of the fireworks event (the Rotary Club) and/or the fireworks company in charge of the display (Bay Fireworks).

This event reminds us of last year's fireworks mishap in San Diego. During a large community event, a technical glitch in the computer system responsible for determining when to shoot off the fireworks caused thousands of fireworks to shoot simultaneously.

With two California community-based fireworks accidents in just two years, we have to ask: Are fireworks displays safe? Are fireworks display organizers, manufacturers and other responsible companies doing enough to ensure spectator safety?

What do you think?

Source: Los Angeles Times, " Simi Valley fireworks explosion caused by early detonation," Emily Foxhall, July 5, 2013