Authorities in Comanche, Texas, were investigating a fireworks explosion at the local high school Thursday that apparently killed one person and injured several others.
Police were still examining the scene, but believe one person died in the explosion involving a trailer housing the fireworks, which were being set up for a July 4 display, Lt. Marcus Nettleton, a member of the Comanche Volunteer Fire department and the public information officer for the incident, told the Los Angeles Times.
Details on the cause and the toll were still being investigated, he said.
This would have been the 24th annual Fourth of July celebration at Comanche High School, Nettleton said. Comanche is a town of about 4,500 about 100 miles southwest of Fort Worth.
The explosion took place about 9 a.m.
“These were very experienced men in what they were doing,” Nettleton said of the workers preparing the display. “They knew what they were doing.”
In the month around the July 4 holiday, nationwide about 240 people a day go to emergency rooms with fireworks-related injuries, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
A recent study by the agency found an increase in the number of fireworks-related deaths and injuries. Device malfunction and improper use are associated with the most injuries.
According to the agency, there were 94 fireworks-related deaths from 2000 to 2013, an average of 6.7 a year.
Fireworks were blamed for an estimated 11,400 injuries in 2013, an increase from 8,700 injuries in 2012. Sixty-five percent, or 7,400, of the injuries in 2013 occurred in the 30 days surrounding July 4.
“Injuries were frequently the result of the user playing with lit fireworks or igniting fireworks while holding the device. Consumers also reported injuries related to devices that malfunctioned or devices that did not work as expected, including injuries due to errant flight paths, devices that tipped over and blowouts,” the agency said.
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