Return to Result Page bullet

Accident: 200840239 - Three Employees Killed, One Injured In Fireworks Accident

Accident: 200840239 -- Report ID: 0524530 -- Event Date: 07/03/1997
InspectionOpen DateSICEstablishment Name
10655968507/08/19977999Fireworks Partners Inc. Dba Mad Bomber
At about 9:15 p.m. on July 3, 1997, Employees #1 through #4 and a coworker began putting on a fireworks display from a barge approximately 375 ft due west of Riverfront Park in Alton, IL. When it was nearly over, Employee #1, the crew chief, climbed up and over the 4 ft high coaming to access the barge's unguarded prow, where seven 8 in. mortars were located. At approximately 9:30 p.m., he used a hand-held road flare to ignite the fuse of the first mortar, and then the second. When he lit the third mortar, it only reached a height of 10 ft before it started to descend. Employee #1 yelled "fire in the hole," as the shell hit the deck of the barge, landing between the "ready box" that contained additional shells and the 4 ft coaming on the starboard side. The shell exploded upon impact with the steel floor, and Employee #4 and the coworker immediately ran for the side of the barge, climbed over the coaming, and escaped into the water. The coworker eventually made his way to the stern of the barge and was rescued. Employee #4 hung onto the side of the barge, and sustained an injury to his right ankle. Employee #3 was killed where he stood, consumed by the flames generated in the numerous explosions that followed. Employees #1 and #2 both leaped off the prow of the barge and drowned; neither were wearing life preservers. Their bodies were found downriver the next morning.
Keywords: fireworks, explosion, mech malfunction, burn, ankle, drown, barge, life jacket, pyrotechnics, work rules
Inspection Age Sex Degree Nature Occupation
1 106559685 Fatality Burn(Chemical) Laborers, except construction
2 106559685 Fatality Asphyxia Supervisors; handlers,equip-cleaners,laborers nec
3 106559685 Fatality Asphyxia Laborers, except construction
4 106559685 Hospitalized injury Bruise/Contus/Abras Laborers, except construction