You’ve all heard the warnings: Let the professionals set off fireworks. The real dangers of these explosives become apparent when even the pros have problems.
Eleven people were injured at a July 4th fireworks display in Palmyra, PA, and now OSHA and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are investigating.
One 17-year-old needed skin grafts for burns on the back of his legs. Eight of the 10 others injured were treated and released at a local hospital. Two others were held overnight for observation. The injured suffered burns, cuts and bruises.
State police say when one of the fireworks didn’t ignite properly, it exploded inside a discharge tube. That caused surrounding discharge tubes to fail. The fireworks inside the tubes exploded, sending burning material into the crowd.
OSHA will investigate whether the company that put on the display, Schaefer Pyrotechnics of Ronks, PA, followed all required safety procedures.
Schaefer was fined $8,100 by OSHA for a July 4, 2004, fireworks mishap in Pittston, PA. About two dozen people were injured.
In 2007, during a fireworks show put on by Schaefer in Vienna, VA, a rogue mortar launched and injured 11 people. No OSHA violations were issued in that incident.
In both of those incidents, faulty fireworks were blamed. The company uses fireworks manufactured in China. It says it tests them regularly and visits the factory where they’re made in China.
Kimmel Schaefer Jr., owner of the company, said in the week around July 4, it launched 1,800 fireworks and only one malfunctioned. He said the company uses a 240-foot safety zone around the launch site, 30 feet more than required.