5 tragic fireworks accidents that show how dangerous they can be

Fireworks are beautiful to look at, especially over the Fourth of July weekend, but if they fall into the wrong hands, or if there are technical malfunctions, patriotic displays can go horribly wrong, sometimes with deadly consequences.

Here are five instances that may give you second thoughts about setting off the explosives.

1. Devon Staples died instantly after he lit a fireworks mortar tube on his head in 2015. According to The Associated Press, he had been drinking at a party when he said we was going to do the stunt. His brother said he was just holding a lighter near the fireworks, and that they accidentally caught fire.

"Devon was not the kind of person who would do something stupid," Cody Staples told The New York Daily News. "He was the kind of person who would pretend to do something stupid to make people laugh."

Staples was a former employee of Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, The New York Daily News reported. He portrayed the character Gaston from "Beauty and the Beast."

2. Jason Pierre-Paul, a New York Giants defensive end, was hurt in 2015 while trying to light fireworks. According to NFL reporter Adam Schefter, Pierre-Paul suffered burns on his palm, which required skin grafts, and three fingers and suffered nerve damage. Damage to the athlete’s fingers ultimately required amputation. Reports indicated that Pierre-Paul had a van full of fireworks for a Fourth of July celebration, according to NFL.com.

3. James Drake of Marion, Indiana, was killed when he went to check on an unexploded shell. According to WXIN, a firework did not go off when expected. It exploded when Drake went to check on it. He suffered extensive trauma to his face. He died after being taken to a local hospital.

4. Two children were injured in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 2015, WFXT reported. A group of children was apparently playing with fireworks that were left behind from a display when a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old were injured. The 9-year-old boy lost his hand.

"He looked really, really hurt," Kesina Gray told WFXT. "His entire hand was gone."

The younger boy might have been blinded, family members told WFXT. Both were burned on their hands and faces.

5. Shells went into a crowd at a public display of fireworks in Colorado in 2015. According to NBC News, “two or three” fireworks shells malfunctioned, firing into the crowd during a show in Avon, Colorado. Nine people were treated for “minor abrasion burns” and released.

“There was not a lot of room in between groups of people, so when it happened no one could really get up and run,” Jane Imber told NBC News. “It was so scary.”


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