Every year, July 5 is headlined with the accidents that occurred during Fourth of July celebrations and/or during Independence Day fireworks shows. It’s like the day after Black Friday each year when everyone checks the headlines for a casualty list from Walmart and other retailers. But whereas Black Friday rarely sees anyone killed, the same cannot be said of of the Fourth of July…
The worst of the Fourth of July accidents occurred in Edmond, Oklahoma, where an 8-year-old boy fell from a float he was riding in a parade and was ran over and killed. The Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News) on July 4 that, making the accident even more tragic, the boy’s father was driving the float.
Just as horrific, a Bangor, Maine, man was knocked from a tractor he was driving in a parade when a fire truck hit the vehicle from behind. According to WCVB in Boston, the vintage fire truck was unable to stop and ran over the man, killing him. (This accident occurred after the parade route was rerouted when a man started shooting at the parade from his apartment window. However, nobody was injured during the shooting incident. The shooter was arrested.)
The worst of the Fourth of July fireworks disasters occurred this year in Simi Valley, California. According to the Associated Press (via Yahoo News on July 5), it is unclear as to how the incident occurred, but 28 people were injured when a fireworks display either collapsed or was somehow tipped over. The result was a barrage of fireworks shooting across the ground and into a crowd of people about 1,000 feet from the fireworks launch area.
If this story sounds somewhat familiar, it might conjure up the massive fireworks explosion in San Diego last year when all the fireworks went off at once. (Which brings to mind the question: In the land of big explosions and special effects (California), how is it that the two worst fireworks accidents in America the last couple of years occurred in Hollywood’s back yard?)
The worst financial disaster associated with a fireworks accident happened in Seattle. KIRO-TV in Seattle reported that someone setting off of illegal fireworks caught a nearby boat storage facility afire. Damage done: 14 boats burned and $1.5 million.
And as if the west wasn’t having enough wildfire problems, KUSA in Denver reported that errant sparks from a fireworks show in Windsor, Colo., caught a nearby park on fire. However, fire fighters were able to quickly contain the fire and put it out without causing too much damage.
With so many people around and/or handling celebratory explosives (a.k.a. fireworks), it could be stated that the statistics could be far worse.
According to the United States Fire Administration and the National Fire Protection Association, more than 8,600 Americans are injured by fireworks every year. Of those, 73 percent occurring from June 18 to July 18. Forty percent of the estimated injuries indicate that children 15 and younger are the most likely to be get hurt.
Just in 2009 alone, over 18,000 fires were started by setting off fireworks. Those same fires produced $38 million in property loss.