A spectacular and dangerous Fourth of July fireworks display malfunction sent 28 watchers to the hospital Thursday night in Simi Valley.
According to witness report and the Ventura County Fire Department, the ordeal took place just after 9 p.m. at a public showing at the Rancho Santa Susana Community Park near East Los Angeles Avenue, where an explosion occurred just two minutes into the show, followed by a number of fireworks shooting directly into the crowd watching the festivities, raining heated debris.
“[The fireworks] are going to travel the same distance across the park as they would in the air. The ones that had actually ignited that had to run their fuse were going directly into the crowd,” said Stephanie Shannon of the Simi Valley Police Department.
At the time of the accident, there were an estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people watching the show. “The fireworks were so close, you could see them on the ground,” said Annisa Wynn, who witnessed the beautiful explosion. “It never happens this way. People were screaming.”
Responding firefighters set up a triage center in the park to offer treatment for those injured. Eight were treated at the scene and released, and another twenty were sent to hospitals in the area, including Los Robles Hospital, Simi Valley Hospital, and Providence Cross Medical Center. None of the injuries were believed to be life threatening, and all were expected to make a full recovery.
Following the accident, local officials are investigating the cause of the initial explosion that sparked the accident. “Obviously what happened is, we had a sever malfunction in one of these devices,” said Captain Mike Lindberry of the Ventura FD. “We want to find out why it happened— was it equipment, was it faulty, was it loaded improperly.”
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