Deaths, injuries, and fires caused by fireworks, July 4

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New Madrid, Missouri-
A New Madrid, Missouri volunteer firefighter, Bill Poley, 40, was killed when a fireworks mortar struck him while he was assisting with lighting the mortars at their local fireworks show on July 4.

Charles City, Iowa-

Thirty-seven people were injured Friday night in a malfunction during the Charles City fireworks display .


According to a spokesman at the Floyd County Medical Center, 34 people were treated at the hospital Friday night. Another three victims who suffered injuries as a result of the fireworks incident, came into the hospital today for treatment.

Assistant Fire Chief David Boehmer said today 12 of the injured were taken to Floyd County Medical Center. Condition reports were not immediately available but Boehmer said there were no fatalities.

Boehmer said the incident was apparently caused by a misfire involving 13 racks of firework tubes.

HERE is a link to a video of the malfunction.


Cincinnati, Ohio (Union Township)-
Seven people were injured when a spark fell into a bag of fireworks and exploded. Two people taken to hospitals had second-degree burns and five others – four of them children between the ages of 2 and 9 – were treated at the scene for minor burns.

Ticonderoga, New York-

Three people were injured Friday night about 10:40 p.m. during Ticonderoga’s fireworks display when a rocket prematurely exploded after its fuse was lit, sending fragments of the device in a 200 foot radius. Some fragments struck several employees of Pyro Engineering Inc. of Nassau County which was conducting the fireworks in addition to two people attending the display.


Pyro employee John M. Michalak, 42, who lit the fuse of the explosive device, was transported to Moses Ludington Hospital for lacerations and bruises on his right leg, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office said. He was later transported to Fletcher Allen Hospital in Burlington, Vt.

(From North Country Gazette)

Port Huron, Michigan-
A 51-year old man was critically injured when he was struck in the face by a fireworks mortar. He was listed in critical condition at a hospital in Ann Arbor.


Riverside, Ohio-
A man lost part of his leg when fireworks went off inside his SUV, blowing the windows out.

Bayville, NY-
A 6-year-old girl in Bayville, N.Y., suffered second-degree burns when fireworks landed in her lap. Investigators said it was not immediately clear who launched the fireworks but said the child was not at a public pyrotechnics display.

Toledo, Ohio-
Fireworks landing on the roofs set fire to and destroyed eight apartment buildings and damaged three others, home to 200 people.

The Solution-
I don’t know what the answer is to the injuries and fires caused by fireworks. The worst incident, injuring 37 people, was put on by a professional fireworks company, J&M Displays of Yarmouth, Iowa. Many of the other incidents were the results of individuals exercising their right of stupidity, which is difficult to legislate against. The Police Chief of Toledo where the eight apartment buildings were destroyed is calling for a fireworks ban.

4th of July!

Have a great 4th of July. The 30,000 folks watching the fireworks at Mount Rushmore last night got an early start on the holiday.

Usually the fireworks at Mount Rushmore, set in a ponderosa pine forest, start a few small fires, sometimes as many at 10 to 15, which are put out by the dozens of firefighters staged around the monument. But it has been a wet early summer and the heavy growth of grass has not cured yet… it’s pretty green right now, so it is unlikely that any fires would have any potential.

Californnia lightning fires

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Smoke grounds air tankers
Yesterday heavy smoke from the 40,000 acres burning near the north end of the Sacramento Valley kept air tankers on the ground.

Govenator: just say NO to fireworks
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenner asked residents not to buy fireworks this 4th of July. I’m with him on that. I have put out too many fireworks-caused fires. From Arnold:

“I know that the people that are selling all this stuff are going to go crazy now when I say this, but don’t buy any of the fireworks,” said Schwarzenegger, surrounded by dozens of firefighters, Monterey County law enforcement representatives and elected officials. “Don’t go out and do fireworks this year … . It’s just too dry and too dangerous to do those things.”

The governor spoke at the Basin Complex Fires incident command post at Andrew Molera State Park off Highway 1.

Courtesy of

Concow evacuated
Most of the community of Concow, east of Chico, is evacuated due to the Empire and Rim fires, part of the BTU Lightning complex which closed Hwy 70. The Empire and Rim fires will most likely burn together.

According to NCOCC: Fires in this complex are immediately threatening communities. The air was stable last night, so fire activity was minimized. The inversion layer still dominates the incident area. If the inversion layer lifts, fire intensity will greatly increase, causing additional evacuations and significant fire spread. Some of the fires are in remote areas making containment difficult and will require large numbers of hand crews.

The map below shows heat, in red, orange, and black, detected by satellites, with the red areas being the most recently burned. The yellow lines are the perimeters uploaded by the incident management teams. Click on the map to see a larger version.

InciWeb still broken
The InciWeb site, which should be the best place to go to get information about fires, is least likely to be working during multiple fire conditions due to very limited capacity. Not only is it frequently impossible for citizens to visit the site, but the fire managers are unable to upload critical information. The federal and state agencies that maintain this site need to install better servers.

Indians fire
The fire was relatively quiet yesterday due to higher humidities and shading from the smoke of the nearby Basin fire. The Team ordered evacuations in the Arroyo Seco area on the north side because of planned burnout operations, but the burn was limited due to weather conditions. It is 58,872 acres and 71% contained. (see the map below)

Basin Complex, Gallery fire
The Partington Ridge area has been evacuated. The fire is moving south into the South Fork of the Big Sur River drainage and north towards Manual Peak. The Basin and Gallery fires are within 1/2 mile of each other and are expected to merge soon. Highway 1 is still closed to non-residents. The complex is 20,600 acres and 3% contained. (see the map above)