A Fourth of July event in Ocean City, Maryland prematurely ended after some fireworks ignited and caused a massive explosion.
Several explosions thumped overhead as fire alarms and whistles rang out. According to ABC News, local firefighters arrived at the scene within minutes. Several beachgoers fled in panic. None of the beachgoers were injured, though an employee of the fireworks company went to the hospital with minor injuries.
Here is the angle of the explosion shared by ABC News:
Another beachgoer captured an angle of the blast from a nearby boardwalk. The plumes of smoke from the fireworks stretch outside the camera’s eye.
Fourth of July Firework Blasts
The blast is the most recent example of some Fourth of July celebrations going awry. According to a report by KELO Land, officials in Rapid City, South Dakota suspect a misfired firework ignited a grassfire over the weekend. It is illegal to shoot off fireworks in the Rapid City area, the report says.
Similarly, fireworks also ignited a blaze in Vacaville, California. According to a report by KRON 4, the local fire department received about 75 calls regarding the fire.
These reasons, among others, are why some scientists say people should skip fireworks altogether at this time of year. According to a report by Grist, an environmental website, the Fourth of July weekend sees the most fires each year.
Jennifer Balch, an associate professor of geology at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Grist that “fireworks are just a terrible idea.”
“It’s so obvious, and yet the response is so scattered in the sense that the decision to ban them is left up to local and state-level decision-making,” she added.
A Short History of Fourth of July Fanfare
Several major historical figures were also big fans of fireworks. For example, a fireworks display followed Ann Boyellin’s coronation of the Queen of England in 1533. Once on the throne, Queen Elizabeth regularly asked “The Fire Minister of England” to coordinate shows.
Americans shoot fireworks on the Fourth of July to mark Independence Day. However, the Encyclopedia Brittanica says “explosions, artillery fire, and “bombs bursting in air” were not exactly a cause for joy and celebration at the time.” So, how did fireworks come to be associated with the Fourth?
In a letter to his wife, Abigail, John Adams declared “[This day] ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forevermore.”
Clearly, Adams felt strongly about what was going on at the time. The Continental Congress assembled for the first time shortly before he drafted the letter. The rest, it seems, is history.
At one point, fireworks were like rockets on the battlefield. During the Revolutionary War, American soldiers used them to ward off the British. Therefore, the arrival of rockets represented continued support of their mission. So, continuing the tradition is a way of commemorating those who used them to fight off the Imperial British.
Or, as Adams explains, fireworks commemorate the creation of the world’s newest nation. They are, after all, the most recognizable part of its history.