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Awe turns to panic when fireworks fall into Simi Valley crowd

Citizens and tourists alike were invited to fireworks displays that were put on across the nation this past Independence Day holiday and following weekend. These ranged from small events on private property to huge gatherings on public land, but every single one of these events had more in common than just the exploding lights.

Each property owner had a duty to those that they invited onto their premises. That duty was one of reasonable care to help keep their guests safe from injury. Officials in Simi Valley are investigating whether or not this duty was broken at a fireworks show this Fourth of July.

Guests waited in anticipation at the Simi Valley Rotary Club for the fireworks that would prompt a chorus of ooohs and aaahs from the crowd that was estimated to be somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000. But that excited anticipation quickly turned into panic when everything went wrong and fireworks fell into the crowd.

When the smoke cleared, it was determined that a minimum of 35 people were injured. Injuries ranged from minor shrapnel wounds to much more serious burn injuries suffered by all ages from infants to the elderly. Some even reported avoiding injury from the explosion but experiencing severe trauma from fleeing watchers.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be assisting with the investigation. The final report has not been released, but investigators have announced their suspicions that the problem may have lied with an unsafe launching station that toppled over during the show and changed the tragectory of the explosives.

Source: Reuters, “California fireworks accident hurts dozens, probe underway,” Alex Dobuzinskis, July 5, 2013

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