From Illinois to Utah: Firework mishaps claim lives and injure dozens this July 4th (2024)

A man who law enforcement said lit a large firework and placed it on his head died in South Carolina Thursday night, and in Alabama, a pyrotechnician was taken by medical helicopter to a hospital after a shell "unexpectedly detonated" during a slated firework celebration, injuring him and canceling the city's show.

The incidents are among dozens of reportedfireworks-related injuries and fatalitiesreported across the nation during this year's Fourth of July festivities.

Here's roundup of major pyrotechnics-related injuries reported across the nation as of early Friday:

Fireworks-related deaths

  • In Illinois, a 34-year-old man died after handling fireworks on Chicago's Northwest Side about 10 p.m. Thursday. The Chicago Police Department told USA TODAY officers responded to the scene and found the victim who suffered trauma to the body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Also in Illinois, a 25-year-old man died in a fireworks mishap early Friday morning in LaSalle, the Journal Star, part of the USA TODAY Network reported. TheLaSalle County Sheriff's Office reported the incident involved illegal fireworks and the injured man was taken to a hospital where he later died.
  • In South Carolina, a 41-year-old man died after suffering injuries while using fireworks, according to Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office incident report obtained by USA TODAY. Witnesses, deputies wrote in the report, said the man ignited a large firework device, set it on his head and it exploded, killing him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • In Alabama, Huntsville Emergency Medical Emergency Services Inc. spokesperson Don Webster told USA TODAY a man was injured just after midnight Friday after a fireworks accident in Madison County. Webster said the 20-year-old man from Harvest, who suffered trauma to the upper torso, was taken to Huntsville Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Pyro tech taken by helicopter for burns:Alabama fireworks tech hospitalized after shell unexpectedly explodes; city show canceled

Firework-related injuries 2024

  • In Alabama, the city of Jacksonville canceled its fireworks show after a shell unexpectedly detonated and injured a technician Thursday night, sending him to a hospital by helicopter. On Friday, city officials said the technician had been released and was expected to recover.
  • In Colorado, a man lost most of his hand on Wednesday night when a firework he held blew up in his hand, the Colorado Springs Fire Department said in a report on its Facebook page. The incident happened in the Cheyenne Mountain area, southwest of Colorado Springs, the CSFD said.
  • In Oklahoma, a 10-year-old boy from the Oklahoma City area was taken to a hospital to be treated for burns from a fireworks explosion, KFOR-TV reported. A man told the outlet his grandson bought four fireworks products and two malfunctioned, one of which injured the boy.
  • In Utah, several people suffered injuries during an annual fireworks celebration at Brigham Young University's LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo when fireworks shot into the stadium crowd. The event included a performance by the Jonas Brothers. The number of those injured and extent of the injuries were not immediately provided by officials.
  • Several people including some children were injured watching fireworks at a private gathering in Rexburg, Idaho, EastIdahoNews.com reported. "Several individuals were taken to Madison Memorial Hospital and two juveniles were taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls,” Assistant Police Chief Gary Hagen told the news outlet. None of the injuries were life-threatening; police are still investigating the cause.
From Illinois to Utah: Firework mishaps claim lives and injure dozens this July 4th (2)

Last year's injury report

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year 9,700 people were treated in emergency rooms across the nation and eight people died from fireworks-related accidents.

Here's a breakdown of last year's injuries:

  • 19% suffered eye injuries.
  • 22% suffered injuries to the face, head and ears.
  • 35% suffered hand injuries.
  • 11% suffered injuries to lower extremities.

Fireworks safety tips

To safely use fireworks, theNational SafetyCouncilrecommends watching them at public displays conducted by professionals and not using them at home.

If you must set off fireworks at home, the council recommends these tips:

  • Do not use illegal fireworks.
  • Never allow children to handle fireworks.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
  • Never light fireworks indoors.
  • Use fireworks only away from people, houses and flammable material.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light only one device at a time and maintain a safe distance.
  • Never ignite devices in a container.
  • Never relight or handle a malfunctioning firework.
  • Soak spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before tossing them out.
  • Keep water nearby to extinguish fireworks if a fire breaks out.
  • Instead of sparklers, consider usingsafer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers and colored streamers.

This is a developing story.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.

From Illinois to Utah: Firework mishaps claim lives and injure dozens this July 4th (2024)

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