Tragic Accidents on Fourth of July Cause Two Deaths
While most of the country celebrated its independence late into the night, happily contemplating the man who ate 69 hot dogs, the re-opening of the Statue of Liberty, and President Obama's cheerful weekly address, celebrations in Oklahoma and Maine left two dead, and fireworks caused injuries and destruction in California and Seattle.
According to the AP, an 8-year-old boy riding a parade float in central Oklahoma died Thursday when he fell off the float and his father accidentally ran him over.
A police officer confirmed the father didn't violate any traffic laws or drive recklessly. "It's just a freak, unfortunate accident," the officer said.
In Bangor, Maine, a man driving a tractor in a parade died when a vintage Bangor Hose 5 Fire Museum truck hit him from behind. The accident is still under investigation by the Bangor police.
Meanwhile, in Simi Valley, Calif., an Independence Day event with over 10,000 people turned catastrophic when fireworks suddenly began shooting into the crowd instead of up in the air, leaving 28 people injured.
The explosion happened about two minutes into the show, when the wooden platform holding live fireworks reportedly tipped over. Police have confirmed that it was an accident.
Although only four people were moderately or severely hurt, 20 were hospitalized with minor injuries.
Another fireworks-related accident occurred in Seattle, when an illegal firework landed on a boat and sparked a massive fire that caused $1.5 million in damage.
The boat, which was at a boat storage facility on Lake Union, caught fire almost immediately, and within a few minutes, 14 boats were destroyed in the blaze.