9 treated, released after Avon fireworks shot into crowd
AVON — At approximately 10 p.m. on Friday, July 3, the Town of Avon’s annual Salute to the USA fireworks show experienced a malfunction, when a shell apparently exploded in its tube rather than firing correctly into the sky. The misfired shell caused the rack of 5-inch shells to tip in two directions causing two to three shells to cross into the crowd. A total of nine people experienced minor abrasion burns and were treated by emergency medical personnel at the show, with all persons being released, town manager Virginia Egger said in a news release issued early Saturday.
“This is Avon’s 29th year of presenting one of the most spectacular fireworks displays in Colorado, and we have never had any failure in the production. It is wonderful news that the injuries were very minor,” said Deputy Chief Greg Daly, who oversaw the response.
The 23-minute fireworks show, produced by Western Enterprises, based in Enid, Oklahoma, experienced the shell burst at about 17 minutes into the show, which is held over Nottingham Lake. The safety distance between the fireworks firing area and the crowd was credited with the limited number of persons having minor burns. The rapid response of the Western operators, who immediately shut the program down once the shells did not tract correctly, was also credited.
Egger said the town of Avon each year prepares fully for the fireworks show, which attracts 20,000 persons, through the development of an Incident Command Plan which is practiced and in place before the show begins.
“Police, fire and emergency medical staff responded to the incident in less than one minute,” reported Deputy Chief Daly. “Four ambulances were assigned to the event in addition to one paramedic supervisor, so experienced medical personnel were ready to respond quickly. The crowd was exceptional in its calm response to what could have been a much more serious incident.”
Egger said an investigation into the cause of the malfunction began immediately after the incident.
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A meeting with state public health officials Monday afternoon revealed new metrics for smaller population counties and good news for Pitkin County.