Probe Continues Into Simi Valley Fireworks Mishap That Injured Dozens
SIMI VALLEY (CBSLA.com) — Pyrotechnic crews Friday continued to clean-up debris a day after a fireworks malfunction in Simi Valley left dozens of Fourth of July revelers injured.
The accident happened shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday — about two minutes after the show started — at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park in the 5000 block of Los Angeles Avenue.
At least 28 people were treated by the Ventura County Fire Department when Simi Valley police say a fireworks launching station fell over. Eight of the victims were treated at the scene and released.
Twenty others were taken to three nearby hospitals. Three of the victims remained hospitalized on Friday, one of which was transferred to a burn center.
Several others were injured but transported themselves to local hospitals, according to fire officials.
New video posted on YouTube shows dramatic footage of the mishap. One of the spectators can be heard yelling, “Run! Run! Run! Run!”
“At first, you had a couple of explosions. They went up and then everything just started coming through the tree line,” one witness told CBS2’s Kara Finnstrom.
Jamie Markham, another witness, told KNX 1070’s Jon Baird that, “the third firework that went off you could tell that things were just not right. Everything was just coming very low. We had ones that were coming right over the house and after that there was a big explosion.”
“I got hit a couple times by debris but I’m fine,” another witness said. “The kid next to me got hit in the face. He had to go to the hospital.”
The force was so great that some said it felt like an earthquake.
Others showed Finnstrom the heavy, wood mortars that were thrown hundreds of feet into neighboring yards.
A bomb squad was subsequently called to the scene to render the unused fireworks safe after the show was halted.
Paulina Mulkern, 21, told CBS2’s Jeff Nguyen that a day following the incident her hands are still trembling. She jumped on two young cousins to shield them from flying shrapnel.
“I felt like a hit on my back, two hits. Pretty sure it was from the fireworks and it was like burning. My grandfather and I got shocks on our hands from the fireworks,” said Mulkern. “It was the most terrifying moment I’ve ever had.”
Nguyen also spoke to Terri Mongiello who lives across the street from the park. She showed him damage to her fence.
“This is one of the caps from the fireworks display that went straight through our fence,” said Mongiello.
Mark Blalock, 12, thought the fireworks were cool. “But then I changed my mind when I saw people getting hit.”
Bay Fireworks, the company responsible for the display, released a statement that read in part:
“Bay Fireworks, deeply regrets that people were injured during the Simi Valley fireworks display. Public safety has always been a major priority of Bay Fireworks.”
Investigators have stressed that it does not appear that foul play was involved, saying the mishap appeared to be an industrial accident.
RELATED STORY: 28 People Injured During Fireworks Mishap In Simi Valley