Other than a day off, and maybe the barbecue, the best thing about July 4th is the fireworks. While most of us are happy to see a good show, a few amateurs want to wow our friends, family, and anyone within a quarter-mile with our pyrotechnic skill. But the pros are pros for a reason -- normally because they have the experience and safety training (to say nothing of the permits and legal fireworks) to handle munitions-grade incendiary devices without blowing themselves or anyone else up.
So think twice before hosting your own Fourth of July fireworks extravaganza. And, if you need more convincing, here are four of the worst fireworks injuries, from our archives:
It's all fun and games until someone ... well, you can guess the rest. The first bad idea was trying to ignite a mortar shell in his neighborhood. The second bad idea was thinking the lit mortar was a dud. The third bad idea was straddling said mortar. The rest, as they say, is history.
As it turns out, the New York Giants defensive end lost a good bit of his right hand in an Independence Day accident last year. Although the details of the explosion are murky, the details of his medical chart were leaked by ESPN NFL reporter Adam Schefter, possibly violating federal medical privacy laws.
One large detonation that sent visible shockwaves through his neighborhood wasn't enough for one North Dakota man. When he went back for a second, it took his head off. Jesse William Burley was 41 when a fireworks accident took his life 5 years ago, and he had two young children. Don't be like Jesse William Burley.
It's not just the amateurs that get it wrong sometimes. A fireworks display sponsored by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Parks Department turned tragic when the platform supporting the gunpowder shells collapsed, aiming the igniting fireworks at the front rows of the crowd.
If you've suffered a fireworks injury, at home or at a show, you may be able to sue. You should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area -- most are happy to talk about your case for free.