Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

Video: Fireworks Misfire Into Crowd At Simi Valley Extravaganza [UPDATED]

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
Your donation today keeps LAist independent, ready to meet the needs of our city, and paywall free. Thank you for your partnership, we can't do this without you.

Several people were injured when the pyrotechnics from a Simi Valley fireworks show accidentally shot into the crowd.

It happened around 9:20 p.m. at the annual free show that attracts thousands of residents to Rancho Santa Susana Community Center and Park, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Witnesses said that the fireworks started misfiring early in the show. Tim Klunen described watching from a hill above the show to The Ventura County-Star this way: "About 30 seconds into the show we saw that fireworks that were supposed to be shooting up high exploded on the ground. It appeared the fireworks were shooting off horizontally into the crowd and into the neighborhood."

This video shows what the misfired explosions looked like from afar:

Support for LAist comes from

The crowd quickly realized that something was wrong and everyone began running in the other direction. Justice Allen told The Los Angeles Times, "There was a big boom, everybody started running down the street, people were screaming. Everybody was just terrified. People hid in bushes."

These three videos capture the terrifying moments when the fireworks misfired into the crowd:

Support for LAist comes from

The show was shut down immediately after the explosion, and authorities quickly evacuated the park. It's not clear how many people were injured altogether. The most recent reports say 28 people were injured altogether. Eight were treated at the scene, and the other 20 were transported to the hospital. Sixteen people had minor injuries, and four people had moderate to severe injuries, NBC Los Angeles reports. Some of the injuries may have been caused by flying debris as well as the fireworks themselves.

Firefighters, police and park rangers were on the scene and were able to start treating the injured immediately, Simi Valley Police Cmdr. John Parks told The Times. They set up a triage center right in the park:

Police told NBC Los Angeles that the misfire appears to be an accident, but it's not clear yet what caused it.

Support for LAist comes from

Last year a computer glitch caused all of San Diego's fireworks to go off at once though fortunately no one was injured.

UPDATE, JULY 5, 1:10 P.M.
The L.A. Times is reporting now that 36 people were injured in the incident.

Simi Valley Hospital treated 26 patients, 14 of which came in by ambulance, hospital spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez told the Times. The patients ranged in age from 17 months to 71 years, and 12 were children, she said.

Twenty-three patients have been treated and released. One was transported to an area burn center. Two remained at Simi Valley Hospital on Friday morning, but were listed in fair condition.

UPDATE, JULY 5, 8:05 A.M.:
The L.A. Times is reporting that the explosion was due to early detonation. Simi Valley police Cmdr. Blair Summey told the Times that after the early detonation, a group of live canisters fell over like "dominoes." One or more of them fired into the crowd of spectators, the closest of whom were about 800 feet away.

Support for LAist comes from

The 28 victims ranged in age from 8 to 78 years old, according to the Times. Twenty people were taken by ambulance to area hospitals. Four suffered serious, but not life-threatening, injuries. According to NBC News, police described the injuries as "consistent with shrapnel and projectile type" injuries.

The California Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the incident.

Kathleen McGuire, who was at the event, told Fox News this morning that "it was like mayhem. I ran and the rest of my group ducked. People were running and screaming and grabbing their kids and running down the street. You could see that some people had been hit, burns on their legs and burns on their arms. It was very traumatic."

She added that even though she loves fireworks, "I don't think I'll ever come to this show again. I went home and cried for four hours, it was so bad."