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Tragic Incident at Jacksonville’s Jax Fest Fireworks Show

Photo taken earlier in the day by reader Richard Brown
Photo taken earlier in the day by reader Richard Brown

Jacksonville, AL – A festive evening turned tragic earlier tonight when an unexpected accident occurred during the setup for the much-anticipated fireworks display at Jax Fest.

At approximately 6:15 PM, a firework shell detonated unexpectedly while being prepared by the technicians of Pyrotecnico, the company responsible for the show. Despite no power source being connected to the device, it detonated, causing an injury to one of the two technicians present at the scene. First responders were on-scene almost instantly as the launch site is adjacent to the Jacksonville Fire Department. The injured technician received immediate medical attention and was transported by helicopter to UAB Hospital in Birmingham. Fortunately, they are now in stable condition. The other technician was unharmed and provided crucial information to the police regarding the incident.

Red Bird Camp

Pyrotecnico, committed to safety, was actively working to find a way to continue the show until at least 8 PM. Vendors remained on-site, and attendees continued to enjoy other aspects of the festival, despite the city’s disappointment at the event’s interruption. The State Fire Marshal was notified promptly and arrived to assess the situation and ensure the site’s safety. The fireworks display has been postponed, with Pyrotecnico pledging to return at a later date to deliver the show.

Per Benjamin Nunnally, Jacksovnille’s Public Information Officer, the incident site is currently under joint investigation by the State Fire Marshal, Jacksonville Fire Department (JFD), and Jacksonville Police Department (JPD). The site will be preserved and secured until the national safety officer from Pyrotecnico arrives tomorrow morning for a thorough inspection. A public notice will inform residents about the potential for hearing fireworks detonating during daylight hours over the next few days as the site is safely decommissioned. The city urges the public to refrain from speculation about the injured technician’s condition and to respect the ongoing investigation.

Chief Kadle of the Jacksonville Fire Department spoke to the Calhoun Journal, explaining about the incident involving an accidental discharge of fireworks that seriously injured a worker during the preparation for tonight’s show. The worker was airlifted to Birmingham for advanced, specialized care. Chief Kadle acknowledged that Jacksonville Fire and Police Departments, along with the fire marshal, are jointly securing the scene. They await the arrival of a national safety officer who will investigate the cause of the accident and assess the fireworks for potential faults, aiming to prevent future incidents. The investigation will commence tomorrow morning.

City officials expressed their gratitude to the first responders for their quick actions and reassured the community of their commitment to safety. Council members highlighted the importance of staying informed about potential adverse weather conditions and encouraged residents to celebrate the Fourth of July safely. Further information regarding the rescheduled fireworks display and additional details from the investigation will be shared as they become available.

This tragic event has undoubtedly cast a shadow over Jacksonville’s festivities, but the community’s resilience and the commitment of Pyrotecnico and city officials promise a brighter celebration in the near future.

Update: 7/4/2024 1:30pm – Per Benjamin Nunnally, Jacksovnille’s Public Information Officer, “Good news! We’ve received word that the fireworks technician injured last night at Jax Fest has been released from UAB Hospital today and is headed home with his co-worker. Thank you to everyone who kept him in your thoughts and prayers!”

Editor’s Note: Per Benjamin Nunnally, Jacksovnille’s Public Information Officer, there are fireworks being shot of in the city by residents. The City is not shooting of any fireworks tonight. That will not change.

 

Photo taken earlier in the day by reader Richard Brown
Photo taken earlier in the day by reader Richard Brown

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