Man injured at Glenwood July 4th fireworks show |

Man injured at Glenwood July 4th fireworks show

Ryan Summerlin
Scenes from the 2017 Fourth of July Celebration at Two Rivers Park.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

A Glenwood Springs man was taken by ambulance to the hospital Tuesday night after being hit and severely burned by a firework in Two Rivers Park during the city’s Fourth of July celebration.

Martin Meyers, a retired teacher, said he was lying by the Colorado River during the fireworks display when a shell exploded near him, burning his leg and leaving an open, bleeding wound that required stitches. Meyers said Wednesday that he plans to seek medical expenses from the city or fireworks company.

The injured man believed that others were also injured during this episode. The fireworks stopped for a period of time after the one had been launched into the crowd, but then they resumed, he reported.

Meyers, who wasn’t able to walk Wednesday, said several vehicles appeared to have been damaged by the stray fireworks, as well.

Glenwood Fire Chief Gary Tillotson said the injured man was the only report of an injury at the fireworks show, but he encourages anyone else who may have been injured, or whose property may have been damaged, to report it.

“In the large crowd in the dark, with all the smoke and confusion and noise, there may be someone who has a claim of damage or injury that we don’t know about,” he said.

After going several years without Fourth of July fireworks due to high fire danger in dry summers, the city last year started using low-level fireworks displays to mitigate the fire risk.

Tillotson said the fireworks company, Oklahoma-based Western Enterprises Inc., is investigating the cause of the malfunction.

The company has provided Glenwood’s fireworks for many years, and the fire chief described the company as “a very reliable contractor.”

In 2015, another Western Enterprises fireworks show in Avon malfunctioned and resulted in injuries to nine people, according to news reports of that incident.

Tillotson said one of the tubes is believed to have malfunctioned, possibly having been tipped over, and a shell was launched at an angle and burst over a crowd of people.

Luckily, only one tube malfunctioned. Historically, at other events, there have been instances where multiple fireworks tubes attached together in a rack have been knocked over and launched shells toward people, said the fire chief. In this case, it was only one tube.

“We feel badly about anyone getting injured or any property damaged during the show,” said Tillotson. “Fireworks are inherently dangerous, and at this point, I don’t fault this particular company. From my perspective, we’re going to have to re-evaluate where we’re shooting fireworks from. I for one want to re-evaluate any other steps we can take or any other locations that may be safer venues.”

At past Glenwood fireworks shows, some people have reported some ash or debris landing on them, but not injuries, said Tillotson.

Meyers said that after taking a taxi back from the hospital, he got a ticket for leaving his truck at the park too long.

The Post Independent was unable to immediately contact Western Enterprises for comment.

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