From Illinois to Utah: Firework mishaps claim lives and injure dozens this July 4th (2024)

A man who law enforcement said lit a large firework and placed it on his head died in South Carolina Thursday night, and in Alabama, a pyrotechnician was taken by medical helicopter to a hospital after a shell "unexpectedly detonated" during a slated firework celebration, injuring him and canceling the city's show.

The incidents are among dozens of reportedfireworks-related injuries and fatalitiesreported across the nation during this year's Fourth of July festivities.

Here's roundup of major pyrotechnics-related injuries reported across the nation as of early Friday:

Fireworks-related deaths

  • In Illinois, a 34-year-old man died after handling fireworks on Chicago's Northwest Side about 10 p.m. Thursday. The Chicago Police Department told USA TODAY officers responded to the scene and found the victim who suffered trauma to the body. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • Also in Illinois, a 25-year-old man died in a fireworks mishap early Friday morning in LaSalle, the Journal Star, part of the USA TODAY Network reported. TheLaSalle County Sheriff's Office reported the incident involved illegal fireworks and the injured man was taken to a hospital where he later died.
  • In South Carolina, a 41-year-old man died after suffering injuries while using fireworks, according to Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office incident report obtained by USA TODAY. Witnesses, deputies wrote in the report, said the man ignited a large firework device, set it on his head and it exploded, killing him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
  • In Alabama, Huntsville Emergency Medical Emergency Services Inc. spokesperson Don Webster told USA TODAY a man was injured just after midnight Friday after a fireworks accident in Madison County. Webster said the 20-year-old man from Harvest, who suffered trauma to the upper torso, was taken to Huntsville Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Pyro tech taken by helicopter for burns:Alabama fireworks tech hospitalized after shell unexpectedly explodes; city show canceled

Firework-related injuries 2024

  • In Alabama, the city of Jacksonville canceled its fireworks show after a shell unexpectedly detonated and injured a technician Thursday night, sending him to a hospital by helicopter. On Friday, city officials said the technician had been released and was expected to recover.
  • In Colorado, a man lost most of his hand on Wednesday night when a firework he held blew up in his hand, the Colorado Springs Fire Department said in a report on its Facebook page. The incident happened in the Cheyenne Mountain area, southwest of Colorado Springs, the CSFD said.
  • In Oklahoma, a 10-year-old boy from the Oklahoma City area was taken to a hospital to be treated for burns from a fireworks explosion, KFOR-TV reported. A man told the outlet his grandson bought four fireworks products and two malfunctioned, one of which injured the boy.
  • In Utah, several people suffered injuries during an annual fireworks celebration at Brigham Young University's LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo when fireworks shot into the stadium crowd. The event included a performance by the Jonas Brothers. The number of those injured and extent of the injuries were not immediately provided by officials.
  • Several people including some children were injured watching fireworks at a private gathering in Rexburg, Idaho, reported. "Several individuals were taken to Madison Memorial Hospital and two juveniles were taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls,” Assistant Police Chief Gary Hagen told the news outlet. None of the injuries were life-threatening; police are still investigating the cause.
From Illinois to Utah: Firework mishaps claim lives and injure dozens this July 4th (2)

Last year's injury report

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year 9,700 people were treated in emergency rooms across the nation and eight people died from fireworks-related accidents.

Here's a breakdown of last year's injuries:

  • 19% suffered eye injuries.
  • 22% suffered injuries to the face, head and ears.
  • 35% suffered hand injuries.
  • 11% suffered injuries to lower extremities.

Fireworks safety tips

To safely use fireworks, theNational SafetyCouncilrecommends watching them at public displays conducted by professionals and not using them at home.

If you must set off fireworks at home, the council recommends these tips:

  • Do not use illegal fireworks.
  • Never allow children to handle fireworks.
  • Never use fireworks while impaired by drugs or alcohol.
  • Wear eye protection.
  • Never hold lighted fireworks in your hands.
  • Never light fireworks indoors.
  • Use fireworks only away from people, houses and flammable material.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Light only one device at a time and maintain a safe distance.
  • Never ignite devices in a container.
  • Never relight or handle a malfunctioning firework.
  • Soak spent and unused fireworks in water for a few hours before tossing them out.
  • Keep water nearby to extinguish fireworks if a fire breaks out.
  • Instead of sparklers, consider usingsafer alternatives, such as glow sticks, confetti poppers and colored streamers.

This is a developing story.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for USA TODAY. Reach her at and follow her on X @nataliealund.

From Illinois to Utah: Firework mishaps claim lives and injure dozens this July 4th (2024)


How many people have died from fireworks in 2024? ›

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, last year 9,700 people were treated in emergency rooms across the nation and eight people died from fireworks-related accidents.

What state has the most fireworks injuries? ›

Midwestern states took every spot in the top five, with South Dakota coming in at number one. On average, residents searched for burn-related terms just over 2,600 times each month in 2020, but that number increased 26% to 3,306 in June, July, and August.

What causes most of the injuries caused by fireworks? ›

The temperature of the sparkler can cause a third-degree burn very rapidly. This is especially problematic if the injury is to the eye as this can cause permanent visual loss. The second most common injury is blast injuries causing severe burns or amputations.

How many people were injured at Stadium of Fire? ›

As many as six people were taken to the hospital, including one with serious injuries, Cook said, adding that he did not know the severity of the other injuries nor the number of people who were struck by fireworks. Local authorities are investigating the cause of the mishap.

Are 10 year old fireworks safe? ›

The short answer to the question 'Can fireworks expire? ' is a simple 'no'. Fireworks, different to many other products, don't have any kind of expiry date and you don't have to worry about using a product within a specific space of time.

What firework has the most injuries? ›

Here's the top five according to the CPSC:
  • Firecrackers (17 percent of all reported injuries)
  • Reloadable shells (14 percent)
  • Sparklers (12 percent)
  • Roman candles (7 percent)
  • Bottle rockets (5 percent)
Jul 2, 2018

Are fireworks illegal in Illinois? ›

Illinois is one of three states that ban some or all consumer fireworks, though they can be purchased in bordering states like Indiana and Iowa. Under the Pyrotechnic Use Act, which was signed in 1942, the purchase, sale and possession of "consumer fireworks" are prohibited statewide.

Which US state buys the most fireworks? ›

States that import the highest value of fireworks per person
RankStateValue of imported fireworks per capita
1 more row
Jun 20, 2023

What states banned fireworks? ›

These types of fireworks must also have fuses that burn for at least three seconds but no more than nine seconds, to help prevent them from exploding in the face of the person who is lighting them. Only one state completely bans the purchase and use of consumer fireworks — Massachusetts.

What happens if a firework hits you? ›

Common Injuries from Accidents Involving Fireworks

Firework accidents can cause a variety of injuries, some of which can be severe. Some of the more common injuries from accidents involving fireworks include: Burns (that may also cause scarring) to the skin, face, eyes, hands and other parts of the body.

What can fireworks do to your body? ›

Short-term exposures can aggravate lung disease, causing asthma and acute bronchitis, and increasing the susceptibility to respiratory infections. In people with heart disease, short-term exposures to the smoke from fireworks have been linked to heart attacks and arrhythmias.

Can fireworks harm you? ›

Overall, about 32% of all firework-related injuries were burns. Hands and fingers are the most commonly injured parts of the body, accounting for about 31% of cases. These types of injuries often occur when people hold lit fireworks. Sparklers can also cause burns to hands and arms, especially in small children.

Who played at Stadium of Fire in 2024? ›

Jonas Brothers

Where is the Stadium of Fire in Utah? ›

The Stadium of Fire is an annual event held on the football stadium at Brigham Young University.

Who is the most injured in the fire? ›

People ages 85 or older had the highest fire injury rate and risk of fire injury. Children ages 5-9 had the lowest fire injury rate and risk of fire injury.

What is the number of people killed by fire in the US each year? ›

The U.S. has one of the highest fire death rates in the industrialized world. About 5,000 people die every year in this country as the result of fire, and another 25,500 are injured. About 100 firefighters are killed annually in duty-related incidents.

What state shoots the most fireworks? ›

1. Missouri. Missouri comes in with a bang as the state that shoots off the most fireworks in the U.S. The state imports more than 42 million fireworks each, which means there are enough fireworks for each person to shoot off roughly 7.

How many fireworks are used on July 4th? ›

Each year, Americans set off nearly 300 million lbs (136,000 tonnes) of fireworks – nearly one pound for every person living in America. In 2022, that figure jumped to more than 460 million pounds (209,000 tonnes) of fireworks.

How bad are fireworks for the earth? ›

Fireworks can also pollute public water supply systems, leaving the water full of the same harmful chemicals that are fluttering through the air. When rivers, lakes, and oceans absorb a large amount of heavy metals and toxins from fireworks, the pollution can harm aquatic life and disrupt the balance of ecosystems.

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