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2007/7/6 10:41 EDT
Fireworks Accidents, a not so happy Independence Day
Much as I love fireworks, it's sad that every year people have to get killed and injured because of them:

July 4th celebratory mishaps injure dozens across the nation
The Associated Press
Updated: 6:48 p.m. ET July 5, 2007
OLYMPIA, Wash. - A small cannon exploded as it was fired during a Fourth of July family gathering, killing an 8-year-old boy in one of several serious accidents involving holiday celebrations, sheriff's deputies said Thursday.

The boy was hit by a piece of metal about 8 p.m. Wednesday while standing about 100 feet from the cannon, said Jim Chamberlain, chief criminal deputy of the Thurston County Sheriff's Office. Other shrapnel was hurled 234 feet, he said.

"Why someone else wasn't injured, I don't know," Chamberlain said.

The boy, whose name was not released, died about an hour and a half later at a hospital in Olympia, authorities said.

The blast occurred at the home of the boy's grandfather in a rural area about six miles south of Olympia, Chamberlain said. Nine adults, including the boy's parents, and seven children were at the party.

Chamberlain said investigators were trying to determine when, where and how the cannon was manufactured. He said it was about 1? feet long with a barrel 3? inches in diameter.

Investigators found a large number of unexploded fireworks and were trying to determine whether any of them or the cannon were illegal, Chamberlain said.

In Michigan's Independence Township, about 30 miles northwest of Detroit, an explosion that could be felt blocks away injured two brothers who authorities believe were trying to make fireworks in a maintenance building at an apartment complex.

Andy Impola, 31, was in critical condition and Lee Marvin Impola, 32, was in serious condition Thursday following the Fourth of July blast, authorities said.

"Obviously something went wrong, we're not sure if it was static electricity or they did something else stupid," Oakland County Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin McCall said.

Authorities believe the two men, whose identities were not released, were using explosive powder to build fireworks but said the explosion was under investigation.

At Fort Stewart, Ga., two pyrotechnic workers were injured during a fireworks show when many of the fireworks exploded on the ground at once, forcing the Army post to halt the display.

Fort Stewart spokesman Kevin Larson said Thursday that neither of the workers was badly hurt.

In Florida, a woman and her 5-year-old son suffered minor injuries when a man lit a firecracker in a fireworks stand in Port Richey, setting off a chain reaction of hundreds of fireworks.

Tony Glenn Rogers, 39, of Tampa, was arrested on arson charges and was being held on $51,000 bail Thursday, Pasco County sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said. Deputies were searching for another suspect. It was unclear from court and jail records Thursday whether Rogers had a lawyer.

In St. Pete Beach, Fla., a mortar from a fireworks show triggered an explosion that shattered 22 windows at a motel. Four people at the motel were cut by flying glass and eight working on the fireworks show suffered minor injuries, city spokeswoman Natalie Strong said.


Cop warned crowd before fireworks tragedy

MELVINDALE -- Police acknowledged Friday an officer warned a crowd that included a Taylor mother to be careful lighting legal fireworks about five minutes before an illegal commercial-grade explosive blew up in her face.

Melvindale Police Chief Rick Cadez said he's reviewing a video recording made by a patrol officer of a crowd at the Auto Town Car Wash that appears to show Danialle Barse, 27, of Taylor lighting a legal-in-Michigan fountain that sprays a shower of colorful sparks.

The officer, whom Cadez wouldn't identify, didn't see a large box containing a 25-shot aerial burst finale of high explosives that killed Barse about 10 p.m. Tuesday. "It's pretty eerie when you see her (Barse) there lighting off these fountains," Cadez said. "I didn't see anything that looked illegal in our video, but we are double-checking to make sure."

Witnesses told police Barse bent over the powerful display when it didn't immediately light. Police have said they believe she helped organize the display and collect about $1,000 for it, but her mother, Debbie Hall, has denied that.

"When we got there, someone had tried to hide," Cadez said. "It was moved back up under the trees, which shows there was some intent and knowledge that what they were doing wasn't right."

Barse's family and friends gathered Friday evening for her funeral in Southgate.

She is survived by three sons, Jeremiah, 8, and twins Jacob and Jordan, 2, and her boyfriend, Charles Nellet.

Police on Friday said they continue to pursue leads, but don't believe the fireworks that killed Barse came from a nearby party store raided Tuesday. Officers seized 5,000 pounds of pyrotechnics, but none that appeared to be powerful enough to deliver the catastrophic blow to Barse.

Federal agents have tracked the device to a licensed fireworks dealer in Eastpointe and are trying to resolve how it was sold to an unlicensed group, Cadez said.

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