Oklahoma City Personal Injury Lawyers

Two Injured in Edmond, Oklahoma Fireworks Accident on 4th of July

If you’ve been reading our legal blog recently, you may have seen some of our Oklahoma fireworks accident lawyers’ safety articles leading up to the Independence Day weekend.  Unfortunately, thousands of injuries occur every year around the Fourth of July, and this summer proved no exception after two spectators were injured in a fireworks accident in Edmond, Oklahoma during a LibertyFest event.

Fireworks Display at Edmond LibertyFest Cancelled After 2 Injured in Explosion, Oklahoma City Responds on Facebook

Two spectators at a LibertyFest fireworks display on the University of Central Oklahoma campus in Edmond were hospitalized for minor injuries on Monday, July 4, after a firework exploded earlier than planned.  Exploding at a lower altitude than anticipated, the firework sent pieces of shrapnel flying into the air, striking and injuring a spectator and fireworks overseer.  According to the Edmond Police Department, the accident occurred about 15 minutes after the show started.

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KWTV – News 9 reporter Chris Gilmore posted an update to Facebook around 11:30 P.M. that night, reading, “Just spoke to LibertyFest victim.  He confirms he was hit by a piece of shrapnel in the knee.  He’s currently bandaged up and on the way to the hospital to get stitches.”  The update featured a picture of the victim sitting in a car with a bandage wrapped around one knee.  Readers weighed in with supportive comments like “Hope it’s okay,” “Pray that he feels better!” and “Good luck sir…”

Fortunately, police reported both victims of the accident were expected to make a recovery.

The fireworks show was cancelled soon after the accident, in case any other injuries could have occurred.  Around 11:50 P.M., about 20 minutes after Gilmore posted his update on the story, The City of Edmond Government released the following statement in response to the incident on its Facebook page:

“We’ve received many inquiries regarding the end of the LibertyFest fireworks display.  To clarify, the City of Edmond does not put on the show, but it is done by the nonprofit LibertyFest organization.  However, we have been in contact with them and can provide the following information:

Near the end of the show there was a malfunction in one of the fireworks that caused it to detonate too low. At that time, the pyrotechnics crew felt it was in the best interest of everyone’s safety to suspend the rest of the show.  There were a couple of minor injuries reported, and the LibertyFest people did not want to put anyone at risk.  They will be completing a thorough investigation to ensure future shows go off without a hitch.  They apologize for cutting things short, but look forward to putting on their best show to date next year.”

The statement, which was shared more than 300 times, garnered a range of responses in the comments section.

“Oh gosh!” remarked one commenter. “We were curious why the finale wasn’t as epic as usual! We still had a blast, thanks to everyone who works so hard to do this every year!”

“Glad nobody was seriously hurt. Was a great show while it lasted,” said another.

“I loved what we saw up to that point,” another commented. “New designs and multicolored fireworks that I’ve never seen before! I appreciate the concern for safety in Edmond.”

Some, however, were less than thrilled.

“We were six feet away from the person whom was hit with a nail covered 2X4 from the mortar stand base,” one commenter said.  “They had an infant that the board missed by inches and struck the adult.  This from an explosion 100 yards away.”

This commenter is speaking about one of the victims, Travis Guthrie.  Seated a few hundred feet away from the point where the explosion occurred, Guthrie was hit in the knee with a piece of wood driven by the blast.  Speaking to News 9, Guthrie said, “I saw kind of a big explosion and a few seconds later I kind of felt a thud there and I looked and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh what happened?’”

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Investigation Reveals Product Defects Cause of Firework Malfunction, Victim Needs Stitches

Guthrie, who was able to drive himself to the ER for treatment, required six stitches to close the wound.  He was relieved the board didn’t strike his children, who were seated nearby.

“It definitely could have done some damage to a kid,” he remarked.

Event organizers worked with the Edmond Bomb Squad to investigate the cause of the accident, with Edmond LibertyFest president Bob Meinders suggesting manufacturing defects could have been to blame.

“We believe it was the shell that was not manufactured properly,” said Meinders.  “There’s a lift charge under the shell and it didn’t lift all the way into the air and it exploded somewhere either in the tube or right outside the tube.”

Trust an Oklahoma Personal Injury Lawyer with Your Case

If you or one of your family members was injured at a fireworks display in Oklahoma over the Fourth of July holiday, you may be able to get compensated for your medical bills and other expenses.  Call the Oklahoma City product liability lawyers of Hasbrook & Hasbrook at (405) 698-3040 to set up a free legal consultation.