September 2, 2012—Lake Elsinore, CA—The Press-Enterprise reports that three people suffered burns after a truck accident in which a vehicle carrying fireworks caught fire and exploded.
The accident took place in the parking lot of a baseball field where the Storm and Inland Empire 66ers were scheduled to play a couple of hours later. One member of the fireworks company suffered both second and third degree burns over most of his body and was transported to a burn center. Another member of the crew and a firefighter suffered minor burns and were transported to local hospitals. The resulting fire spread for half an acre before firefighters were able to control it.
An investigation into the cause of the fire is still ongoing.
My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this accident, and I want to wish them a speedy recovery.
Fireworks Accidents Are Common And Sometimes Cause Serious Injuries
According to statistics compiled by the government’s Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA, at least 8,600 people were treated nationwide in hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. At least 73 percent of these injuries occurred in the two to three weeks surrounding the July 4th holiday and involved civilians who mishandled private purchased fireworks.
Burns were the most common type of injury, followed by foreign objects in eyes or loss of fingers due to explosions. Most fireworks victims were treated and released for minor burns or cuts, but some victims were hospitalized and three died as a result of their injuries in 2010.
This Accident Highlights The Need for Careful Handling of Fireworks
Whatever the reason for the fire in this incident, the results underline the need for extreme care when handling and transporting fireworks. A fire in an enclosed area containing fireworks, which are filled with explosive material, can easily cause an explosion and a spreading fire that could cause people far removed from the scene to experience injuries.
Who Is Liable for a Fireworks Accident?
Because fireworks are so inherently dangerous, only those who have been certified to handle them are allow to pack, transport, and set up fireworks displays. California’s Fireworks Law, passed in 1938, designated the Office of the State Fire Marshal as the oversight agency for issuing fireworks licenses and governing their use and transport.
If the people transporting the fireworks did not practice safe handling, leading to this accident, it is possible they would have liability for the injuries. It is also possible that the company that made the fireworks, the trucking company, or even the State Fire Marshal could have liability if one of these individuals did not follow strict procedures for safe handling. A good accident injury lawyer should review the case and help make a determination about the liability issue.