Earlier this month, a south Kansas City house exploded, knocking off its foundation and injuring six people, two of them critically. Investigators quickly uncovered the reason for the explosion—the people inside were manufacturing illegal fireworks. Legally sold fireworks can have no more than 50 milligrams of flash powder. Illegal fireworks, however, are often created to be 20 times more powerful. As the recent Kansas City explosion illustrates, accidents involving these potent fireworks are not the typical fireworks burn; the results are often serious injuries and even death. Three years ago, in Independence, an illegal fireworks explosion killed a man and threw his body in the backyard of another house.
Around July 4th, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives begins to hear more and more reports of illegal fireworks being sold on the street. These fireworks are popular for their explosive capacity. Materials cost little and the sale price of these homemade fireworks can be quite high, as manufacturers ask whatever they want.
The individuals inside the Kansas City house that exploded had been selling illegal fireworks for over two years. One resident of the home reported that he helped make about 1,500 explosives last July. The residents further informed investigators that bowls of open explosives were left out in the basement.
ATF investigators find that often illegal fireworks manufacturers work in dirty facilities coated with explosive power. They often find bulk powder and fuses. Sometimes, manufacturers actually disassemble consumer fireworks and remanufacturer them to a higher power, often leading to accidents.
John Ham, an ATF spokesman, warned that it does not take much for these illegal fireworks to go off. Furthermore, it is often difficult to identify an illegal explosive. Most fireworks do not come with labels and look essentially the same.
In 2012, the Consumer Product Safety Commission received reports of six fireworks deaths occurring outside the workplace. At least two involved homemade fireworks.
Kansas City officials advise residents to use caution in purchasing fireworks. Only buy from reputable stores and avoid any roadside or potentially homemade purchases. If you observe activity that indicates a neighbor may be making illegal fireworks, report it to the authorities in order to protect your own home from the dangerous possibility of an explosion.
If you are injured in a fireworks accident involving a potentially illegal firework, the manufacturer of this product may be liable for your injuries. Those who negligently sell such a dangerous product could be held responsible for your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more. They will also face criminal charges. Contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible following a fireworks accident so that prompt investigations can ensue.
Contact Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation
The Lenexa, Kansas Personal Injury Attorneys at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. urge anyone who has been injured in a fireworks accident to contact our office. Our personal injury attorneys have represented clients in a wide range of accidents for over 27 years. We will carefully examine the circumstances surrounding your fireworks related injury and determine whether negligence or a product defect played a role in the accident. We will then guide you towards a full recovery. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential fireworks accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.