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URGENT Fireworks Accidents Kill 2, Injure Three Dozen Others With AM-Fourth Rdp, Bjt

July 5, 1986

Undated (AP) _ Accidents during Fourth of July fireworks displays Friday night killed two people and injured more than three dozen others, including 30 who suffered minor burns and cuts when a rocket went astray and sailed into the stands at a show in a Newark, N.J., stadium.

An antique cannon exploded at the home of a Milford, N.H., town official, showering shrapnel that hurt five people.

A rocket misfired during a fireworks show in Madison, Wis., killing an employee of a company putting on the display, police said.

The accident came about midway during the show, which drew about 15,000 people to Elver Park, and the rest of the display was canceled.

Witnesses told police the man was igniting a rocket with a flare, but that it exploded instead of shooting skyward.

In Edgewater, Fla., a rocket exploded on Firecracker Island during the Edgewater Volunteer Fire Department’s fireworks display, killing its fire chief, George Kennedy, said police Sgt. William Lenz.

The explosion occurred midway through the exhibition as Kennedy was preparing to launch the missile.

The injuries in the Fourth of July accident at Newark’s Ironbound Stadium were mostly minor burns and cuts, according to hospital officials.

″One of the rockets went haywire or something,″ according to a Newark police dispatcher. ″It went right into the stands.″

About eight ambulances were sent to the July Fourth fireworks show east of downtown, said police Lt. Joseph Pandolfo. He didn’t know how many people attended the display.

The cannon explosion occurred at 5:15 p.m. during a barbecue at the home of Milford, N.H., town moderator Robert Philbrick. Former town selectman William English was lighting the black-powder cannon when it exploded, hurling shrapnel for hundreds of feet.

English was in fair condition at St. Joseph Hospital with leg injuries, while another guest, also in fair condition, suffered abdominal injuries. One other adult was hospitalized and two were treated and released.

Shrapnel penetrated the wall of a home 300 feet away, police said.

In Rockport, Texas, fireworks exploded about 10 minutes into the 9:15 p.m. EDT show on Rockport Beach north of Corpus Christi, and seven people were injured, two of them seriously.

″The fireworks display was going on, and all of a sudden there was the most beautiful sight you could see but it was on the ground,″ said Aransas County Sheriff Robert Hewe. ″It was too low and too bright.″

Hewe had no details on the injuries.

Other fireworks accidents Thursday injured eight people in Georgia and a teen-ager in Washington.

In Atlanta, 9-year-old Allison Yother, underwent minor surgery for burns and possible shrapnel wounds she received in the misfire at the ″Shoot The Works″ display Thursday at mall in suburban Dunwoody, Ga., officials said.

Two adults also were taken to a hospital for treatment, and five others received first aid at the scene, said Carla Redding, a spokeswoman for Perimeter Mall. The injured adults included three fireworks crew members.

A preliminary investigation indicated that the bottom of a firing tube blew out after the rocket was lit, throwing the device about 100 yards and breaking up a rack of rockets already lit, said a DeKalb County arson squad spokesman.

In Tacoma, Wash., Edward A. Zenker, 17, was hospitalized at St. Joseph Hospital, where doctors had been unable to remove what was believed to be a .44-caliber bullet lodged in his brain, said nursing supervisor Dianne Wyrens.

A 36-year-old man, unidentified pending his arraignment Monday, was held on $50,000 bail for investigation of three counts of first-degree assault, said police Sgt. Wayne Zinter.

Zenker was shot shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday, after an autombile chase by an irate mailbox owner. Zenker’s teenage companions told authorities they pulled over to talk to the man but he fired at them, Zinter said.

In Baltimore, authorities said they confiscated about 1,000 fireworks from 25 motorists who bought them in Virginia on Thursday and transported them into Maryland, where possession of fireworks is illegal.

A Palo Alto, Calif., policeman posed as a Federal Express courier to seize a 16-pound package filled with rockets, firecrackers and other illegal fireworks from its recipient, authorities said.

Federal tipped police that a suspicious package marked ″explosives″ had been delivered Wednesday to its Menlo Park office. The recipient was not arrested because it could not be determined whether he should be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, police said.

In Wood River, Ill., Randall Brown, 35, and Susan Brown, 33, were arrested Thursday when officers raided what they said was an illegal fireworks factory.

Each was charged with one count of possession of explosives and incendiary devices and one of unlawful possession of explosives, said James Elber, head of the St. Louis office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Police in East Alton, Ill., said they found about 300 explosive devices in the trunk of a car Wednesday. Fire Chief Bill Shewmaker said the largest bomb, which measured 10 inches, held enough flash powder to kill someone.

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