A California Fourth of July fireworks display that went horribly wrong is being deemed an "industrial accident" by the Ventura County Fire Department.
The accident occurred in Simi Valley, which is northwest of Los Angeles. Officials say that bad fireworks seem to have caused a blast that injured more than 3 dozen people who were attending the Fourth of July fireworks show. The explosion sent shrapnel flying into the crowd. Police initially thought that one firework exploded prematurely in its mortar, knocking over other mortars and aiming them across the field.
Ventura County Fire Capt. Mike Lindberry reported, "We've unloaded the mortars. We have broken down all mortar casings and loaded them into vehicles. They'll be transported back to the vendor." The vendor is New York-based Bay Fireworks and their record has been clean since 1984. The chief executive officer for the company, Dennis Brady, said he did watch the video of the accident. He indicated that one shell started a chain reaction by detonating in its gun.
Investigators say that it does appear that state fire code regulations were being followed and that spectators were kept 350 feet away from the launch site.
The Morales family was sitting in the front row when the fireworks started flying toward them. Victor Morales Jr. said "We all flew back. I kid you not. I was lying on my back!" One of the family members is still recovering; he had stitches in the center of his nose and the explosion narrowly avoided his eyes.