Skip to comments.Several injured in fireworks truck explosion on Ocracoke Island, N.C.
Posted on 07/04/2009 8:52:32 AM PDT by csvset
A fireworks truck exploded this morning on Ocracoke Island, N.C., injuring five to seven people, a dispatcher with the Hyde County Sheriffs Office said.
The explosion occurred at about 9 a.m., he said. Paramedics are transporting the injured people to the hospital for treatment.
No additional information was immediately available.
A truck containing fireworks explodes on Ocracoke Island.
It happened around 9:15 this morning.
There are reports of approximately five people injured.
No word on their conditions.
We're told three air medical helicopters from EastCare are responding to the island at this time.
We have a crew on their way to the scene and we'll have the latest for you as it becomes available.
Sounds like quite a show.
By Andrew Doud Reporter Published: July 4, 2009 One person is dead and four others are injured after a tractor trailer carrying fireworks exploded on Ocracoke Island, in Hyde County.
It happened shortly after 10 a.m., Saturday morning near the islands south dock.
Well have more on this developing story as details become available.
WITN News has confirmed with sheriff's officials there has been an explosion on Ocracoke Island in Hyde County.
A person who lives on the Island reported the blast involved a truck with fireworks, and several people are hurt.
Sheriff's officials say at least one person has died, and four people were critically injured.
Officials say they are all from Melrose Pyrotechnics in South Carolina, and they were setting up the Island's fireworks tonight when the explosion happened about 9:15 a.m.
Ferry service was suspended to public travel and limited to emergency personnel only but has since resumed for the public.
The traffic warning cited "a significant accident involving a tractor trailer."
Gwen Myers of Washington, who used to work at WITN, is at Ocracoke this holiday weekend.
"The explosion happened near the ferry docks," Myers said. "It was unreal. There was a huge boom. The explosion peeled the top off the 18-wheeler truck."
Myers said even hours after the explosion you can still smell fireworks in the air. She said its believed all those hurt are exployees of the company putting on the fireworks.
Reports indicate several East Care helicopters were called to the scene.
If you have photos from the scene in Ocracoke, please submit them to Carolina Camera.
Ocracoke's fireworks display was scheduled for 9 p.m. tonight.
The more recent census numbers show Ocracoke Island with a population of less than 800. In the summer months, thousands of people travel to the Hyde County Island by ferry to visit.
Photo taken by Sharon Tugwell.
Edward Teach at it again out there?
By Blackbeard's ghost.. The wreckage.
“Nothing to see here, please disperse!”
I’m praying for the recovery of those injured.
Not a whole lot of folks have been to Ocracoke island. Soooo isolated. I went there from the south on the way to visit the Wright Memorial in Kill Devil Hills. Took the Ferry. WOW, too cool.
Especially seeing wild horses in the surf on the way.
Also been to Bath area and have read quite a bit about ole Blackbeard.
Two of the injured have died.
I wonder what went wrong. Prayers for all involved.
It went boom.
Good thing it didn’t happen on the ferry ride over to the island.
They got signal. Ignition.
OCRACOKE, N.C. A truck carrying fireworks for a July Fourth holiday display exploded Saturday, killing three and injuring two.
The blast occurred at approximately 9 a.m. in the parking lot of the Ocracoke campus of the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching, near the island's South Ferry Terminal. Officials weren't sure what caused the load to ignite, said Hyde County Manager Carl Classen.
One victim died at the scene, and a second died at the University of North Carolina's Jaycee Burn Center at Chapel Hill, said Hyde County spokeswoman Jamie Tunnell.
One other victim remained at the burn center, and two were taken by helicopter to Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, N.C., where one later died, Tunnell said.
The worker flown to the burn center was in fair condition, said Clinton Colmenares, a center spokesman. An update was not available on the condition of the other victim Saturday evening.
Sundae Horn, an Ocracoke resident, said people didn't feel like celebrating Independence Day after the tragedy.
"Everyone is very subdued," she said. " Everybody wants to celebrate today and it's too sad."
Federal agents were headed to the island to investigate. All of the blast's victims, four men and a woman, were members of the crew working on Ocracoke Island's fireworks show, which was canceled. How many fireworks exploded wasn't immediately determined, but the company was expected to have enough fireworks for a 22-minute show.
Rachel O'Neal, who was working at the South Ferry Terminal's ticket booth Saturday morning, witnessed the explosion and called 911. The blast occurred as the crew was opening a door to the truck, she said.
Two explosions shook homes and businesses and could be heard for miles, witnesses said. Debris flew through the parking lot, which sits near the water's edge.
Ocracoke volunteer firefighters were already at the scene to help prepare for the fireworks show, which was to be held adjacent to the parking lot on a beach of the Pamlico Sound.
"They were able to react extremely quickly and efficiently," said Brian Carter, a paramedic with Ocracoke EMS.
"There was a huge mushroom cloud," said O'Neal, who works for the North Carolina Department of Transportation's Ferry Division. "Everything was in flames, and the whole shoreline was on fire."
O'Neal said she and her fiance saw one of the crew members blown back toward the shoreline. A firework blew through another one of the crew member's cheeks, she said.
"Their clothing was all burned," she said. "It all burned up and it blew off."
She said tourists began running toward the site after the second explosion, and she tried to keep them away.
Ocracoke Island is the southernmost inhabited island on the Outer Banks, about two hours from the mainland, and is accessible only by ferry or air. About 800 people live on the island year round.
The South Ferry Terminal is near Ocracoke Village and serviced by the Cedar Island-Ocracoke Ferry and the Swan Quarter-Ocracoke Ferry.
Not all of the fireworks exploded, and officials closed the terminal until they could secure the remaining pyrotechnics. It remained closed into Saturday evening.
The island's North Ferry Terminal, which is serviced by the Hatteras-Oracoke Ferry, was temporarily closed, but it opened again in the afternoon to transport emergency vehicles, said Terry Gray, operations manager for the ferry.
The incident drew a response from volunteers and the region's first responders, including the Ocracoke Volunteer Fire Department, Hyde County EMS, Hyde County Sheriff's Office, National Park Service, the NCDOT Ferry Division, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries and the Ocracoke Health Center, according to a Hyde County statement. Three doctors and volunteer nurses were also on the scene.
Two volunteer firefighters suffered inhalation injuries and exhaustion. Paramedics transported them to the hospital for treatment.
The FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation; and an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Company are investigating.
The fireworks company, Melrose South Pyrotechnics of Catawba, S.C., said it was sending a company representative to Ocracoke to work with authorities on the investigation.
In the past, the village has paid about $20,000 for the fireworks show. This would have been the third year the company did fireworks on Ocracoke.
Catherine Kozak, (252) 441-1711, firstname.lastname@example.org Kathy Adams, (757) 222-5155, email@example.com
The North Carolina Department of Labor today issued 11 citations to Melrose South Pyrotechnics and fined the company about $45,000 for violations that led to a fireworks explosion on Ocracoke Island on July Fourth.
Four workers with the Catawba, S.C. company were killed by the blast, and a fifth suffered severe burns. The company has 15 working days to accept the violations, appeal them or ask for a hearing.
Thanks for the follow up there csvset
A sad note for the families involved.