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Spectators scream, flee fireworks at Saltillo show

Saltillo Mayor Larry Lowery described a mishap at the city’s fireworks show Monday that sent some too-close spectators scrambling away screaming as a “learning experience.”
A person who was lighting the fireworks was reportedly treated for minor burns at a first aid tent set up by the Hardin County Fire Department.
Tuesday, Lowery said some barriers had been set up to keep fireworks watchers at least 50 feet away, but some at the show were closer.
Drone video footage (click to view) of the fireworks display from the Fire Department shows two separate incidents during the 20-25 minute show.
In the first, a low spray of sparks apparently ignites multiple fireworks boxes laid out in a close pattern on the pavement at the boat ramp parking lot on the Tennessee River. In the second, a mortar shell fires into a nearby parked vehicle. It’s unclear if the mortar fell over or the round blew out the side of the tube, said county Fire Chief Melvin Martin.
Lowery said he was among those who scrambled to get out of the way when the first mishap occurred at the beginning of the show.
“I myself was within 15 feet of them,” the mayor said. “I ran like everybody else.”
Lowery and Martin both expressed gratitude that they have heard no reports of serious injuries. “It looked a lot worse than it turned out to be. The crowd reacted and screamed and ran for cover,” Martin added.
Lowery said the city has staged a Fourth of July fireworks show for several years without incident, relying on a group of amateurs.
“This is a learning experience for the city and the people putting it on,” Lowery said.
Saltillo may consider hiring a professional fireworks company in the future, he added.
Chief Martin, who said HCFD had no official jurisdiction at the Saltillo event, recommends spectators stay at least 300 feet away from a large-scale fireworks launching site – for both safety and to enjoy the best view.
Although the majority of the crowd which he estimated numbered no more than 1,000 were in good position, “dozens” of people were too close, he said.
Malfunctions such as those that occurred in Saltillo, he said, are “to be expected in consumer-grade fireworks.”
Other than the Saltillo incident, Martin said there were five fireworks-related fire calls across Hardin County over the three-day Independence Day holiday weekend. Four were for grass fires and one burned some latticework on a household deck.

1 Comment

  1. Chris Mekow on July 8, 2022 at 9:24 am

    You get what you pay for….

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