Fire caused by fireworks kills one, injures four in East Texas

Jul 5, 2023, 12:50 PM

GILMER, Texas (AP) — A man was killed and four other people were hurt after officials say a fireworks accident caused a large fire during preparations for an Independence Day event in East Texas.

It was one of at least two deaths and many injuries across the U.S. over a holiday that typically sees upward of 10,000 emergency room visits because of injuries blamed on pyrotechnics.

Upshur County fire agencies, deputies and medical personnel responded to a fire at the Firehouse 9 Farm Event Venue in Gilmer, Texas, around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday following an explosion that happened during the setup for a fireworks event scheduled for later in the day, according to a statement from the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office.

Jared Scott Maddox, 58, who owned the venue, was found dead at the scene and four others were injured, the sheriff’s office said.

Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office and officials from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are investigating.

In a statement from the Upshur County Sheriff’s Office on Wednesday, ATF Agent Kevin Mack said the explosion happened as people were finishing setting up 300 3-inch fireworks shells and that it appears to have been caused by the electric match that fed a shell.

Thousands of Americans are badly injured by fireworks annually, despite repeated warnings around the use of this popular Fourth of July tradition.

In western Michigan, one woman died and nine others were injured with injuries ranging from minor to critical following two fireworks-related explosions Monday within about 30 minutes of each other. The explosions were no more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) apart.

First, in Allegan County, an errant mortar shot sideways into a crowd of spectators. Then a fireworks explosion killed a 43-year-old woman from Holland in nearby Park Township.

In Illinois, a man was severely injured after a powerful firework exploded in his face Monday when he was examining why the firework had not initially detonated.

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Fire caused by fireworks kills one, injures four in East Texas