July Fourth is a day of celebration for all American’s and the day that is not complete without fireworks. Although fireworks can be spectacular, they can also be dangerous. It takes a lot of preparation and safety procedures to creative a successful show, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals. Many people buy illegal fireworks and have their own show at home. People have lost fingers, and more by engaging in illegal firework use. These five firework explosions through history prove how dangerous handling fireworks can be.
Devon, Pennsylvania at the Pennsylvania Fireworks Company. In 1930, Philadelphia’s Main Line experienced an explosion that was felt for miles around. The plant was furnished with gas stoves for heating and gas jets called the “drying room.” The plant also housed other explosives and black powder as well as the firecrackers — an accident waiting to happen. Ten employees were killed including four children that were under the age of 16. Flames overtook a ten-acre area engulfing houses in the surrounding area. Small explosions continued for quite a while. Field fires were in several areas around the plant. There were down wires along the tracks that put the rails at a halt. The injured were rushed to nearby Bryn Mawr Hospital.
Jennings, Oklahoma fireworks plant. In 1985, a fireworks factory explosion shook the earth 40 miles from its location, and created a smoke cloud seen for miles. 21 people were killed in the explosion, and five injured. Unfortunately, the explosion occurred right before the Fourth of July, so extra staff were on the premises at the time. The factory fined for safety violations.
La Folettet, Tennessee fireworks factory. An explosion in a small town in Tennessee left a community heartbroken in 1997. Lansden Hill Jr. was a well-respected person in the small town of La Folettet. He hired young adults when school was out to work in his fireworks factory, and his business was always up to code and passed regular inspections. Pyro Shows Inc had put on fireworks displays at Fourth of July celebrations in Washington and independence festivities in the United Arab Emirates, the company also won national competitions and did well at an international competition. The explosion left four dead, including a newly engaged couple, and the small town mourning.
Enschede, Holland fireworks warehouse. The 2000 Enschede explosion is often considered one of the worst accidents in modern history. The incident started out as a small fire then led to two explosions. 23 people died in the disaster which included four firemen and 947 citizens. Almost 2000 homes were left barely standing leaving over 1000 people homeless.
Simi Valley, California Fourth of July fireworks explosion. In 2013, a Fourth of July disaster occurred when a pyrotechnics display fell over during a local fireworks show and exploded into the crowd. 28 injuries occurred with four being called serious-condition. There were over 9,000 people in attendance for the fireworks display that never happened. People fled for their lives when the explosion shot out into the crowd. Luckily, none of the injuries was life-threatening, but 16 people were taken to the hospital for treatment.
These firework explosion stories that have spanned over several decades prove that handling fireworks have not gotten any safer. Large amounts of explosives in one place is never a safe situation. Every year individuals try to take on the task of a firework’s display on their own, but it’s best to leave it to the professionals even though that can go astray as well.
By Christina Thompson