PARK TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Fireworks explosions in adjacent counties in western Michigan left at least one woman dead and nine others with injuries from critical to minor, authorities said.
Both explosions happened Monday within about 30 minutes of each other and no more than 30 miles apart, first in Allegan County, when an errant mortar apparently shot sideways into a crowd of spectators, and then in Park Township, when a fireworks explosion killed a 43-year-old woman from Holland.
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement that the woman was declared dead after responders arrived on Main Street in Park Township. The news release didn’t say whether the explosion occurred during an organized July Fourth public event.
Nine other people were taken to area hospitals. Several area homes and vehicles also were damaged, the release said. The explosion is under investigation.
Park Township has a population of about 18,000. It’s on the Lake Michigan shore about 30 miles southwest of Grand Rapids.
In Allegan, the July 3 Jubilee with a fireworks display over the Kalamazoo River went awry about 10:30 p.m. when police reported that a mortar shot horizontally and landed among a crowd of spectators. Authorities did not say whether anyone was injured.
“It was absolutely terrifying,” Amy Cummings told MLive/The Grand Rapids Press. “I woke up and can still hear the cries of the children in fear.”
Another explosion late Saturday in suburban Kansas City injured four people, two seriously. When Northwest Consolidated Fire District responded to a reported shed fire in Lexington Township, Kansas, firefighters found fireworks actively exploding and several people lying injured on the ground, Chief Todd Maxton said in a statement.
Last year, fireworks were blamed for 11 deaths in the United States were blamed on fireworks, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Some 10,200 people were treated at emergency rooms. About three-quarters of injuries happened in the period around the Fourth of July.