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4th of July mishap: Fireworks misfire, veer into crowd injuring many in Utah


During a Fourth of July celebration at a packed Utah football stadium, malfunctioning fireworks veered into the stands, striking audience members and sending up to six people to the hospital, according to authorities and the event organizer.
The incident took place during the opening ceremonies of the Stadium of Fire show, the main event at Provo’s annual freedom festival held at Brigham Young University’s LaVell Edwards Stadium.The fireworks were launched inside the outdoor arena as several jets flew overhead, AP reported.
The show was paused for approximately 15 minutes while injured audience members received medical attention, according to Freedom Festival spokesperson Emory Cook. He stated that as many as six people were taken to the hospital, including one with serious injuries, but he did not have information on the severity of the other injuries or the exact number of people hit by fireworks.
“Definitely a firework malfunctioned, but we’re still trying to figure out how that happened,” Cook said. “All the fireworks were installed properly before the event, and they were inspected and approved prior to the show by authorities.”
Teresa Jack, a Provo resident who witnessed the incident from the field, reported seeing a rocket fly over her head and into the stadium’s east stands, exploding and creating a large cloud of smoke like a bomb going off. People in the crowd began waving to alert officials of injuries and shouting “stop the show” at the speaker on stage, reported AP.
The event, which featured the Jonas Brothers, resumed under approval from the Provo fire marshal after the fireworks had been inspected following the accident, according to BYU police department spokesperson Karen Ellingson. The fireworks that malfunctioned inside the stadium were relatively small compared to the large pyrotechnics used during the show’s finale, which are kept outside the stadium, Cook explained.
The Fourth of July show was organized by Stellar Fireworks of Wichita, Kansas. Company representative Andrew Nguyen stated that the pyrotechnics that misfired were from a device called a repeater that fires 25 shots simultaneously. “It blew apart and instead of the shots being oriented vertically, they became horizontal because the device had no structure,” he said.
Jack, who attended the festival to see the Jonas Brothers, mentioned that she and her friends almost left during the finale partly due to the earlier malfunction but stayed because the display was amazing. However, she was just as impressed with the drones as the traditional fireworks in the show, leading her to question if that would be a better way to celebrate Independence Day. “It might be time for us to reevaluate this tradition,” she said.

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