2013 Simi Valley Independence Day Fireworks Accident, At Least 36 Hurt – Multiple Views of Accident


Last night when all of the people in my dad’s neighborhood were out busting off what sounded like Class B fireworks, Simi Valley, California experienced a bit of bad fireworks juju, injuring at least 36 people for burns and other related injuries.  From the videos of the accident, you’ll notice a mortar shell flower-potting (which means it explodes either inside of the tube, or right as the propellant charge reaches the open air at the top of the tube), which then tipped over other mortar tubes, shooting shells right into the crowd and igniting other tubes.  Amazing, isn’t it?  Entertainment is a bigger/better/faster/harder business, and when something goes wrong, it always really goes wrong.

From an article at the LA Times, bolding is mine:

At least 36 people were injured or treated at Simi Valley-area hospitals after a major malfunction at a fireworks display sent pyrotechnics shooting into a crowd of spectators.

An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 people were gathered at Rancho Santa Susana Community Park in Simi Valley Thursday to watch the show when, officials believe, at least one pyrotechnic prematurely exploded in a mortar, causing a chain reaction that tipped over other fireworks and launched them into the crowd of spectators.

Simi Valley police initially said 28 people were injured, including 20 who were taken by ambulance to area hospitals. Additional victims sought treatment on their own.

Simi Valley Hospital treated 26 patients, 14 of which came in by ambulance, according to hospital spokeswoman Alicia Gonzalez. The patients ranged in age from 17 months to 71 years, and 12 were children, she said.

Twenty-three patients have been treated and released, she said. One was transported to an area burn center. Two remained at Simi Valley Hospital on Friday morning, but were listed in fair condition.

The injuries included burns, shrapnel, trampling wounds and chest pains, Gonzalez said.

I’m glad to hear of ZERO fatalities.  Wounds may take time to heal, but that time can at least be filled with love.

Check out some video of this accident — the initial flower-pot explosion starts a chain reaction of disaster that everyone close to is lucky to have lived through.

This is the most incredible view of the accident — just the magnitude of that size mortar shell exploding at ground level is almost unbelievably scary:

From ABC News:

A different ABC News affiliate, incredible video of the display:


Established and accredited fireworks company Bay Fireworks from Bethpage, NY was contracted to perform the Simi Valley fireworks display this year.  Bay has assured news outlets that their employees are highly qualified; we here at JimOnLight just hope that the Bay Fireworks crews from the Simi Valley event are all safe and secure, too.

Images of the cleanup and investigation today (July 5, 2013):


a destroyed mortar shell from July 4th’s Simi Valley Fireworks accident


Police and investigators examine the damage, from July 4th’s Simi Valley Fireworks accident

Simi Valley Fireworks Mishap

The moment of explosion on ground level, from July 4th’s Simi Valley Fireworks accident

Have you ever seen the setups for fireworks displays?  There are some massive displays out there — the one here from last night in Peoria, IL was also pretty massive:

When I mention “mortars,” I’m talking about a tube that a fireworks shell goes into that guides it upwards — the desired effect.  These images are from fireworks displays across the world — notice the common theme of pipes and tubes?  The older industry way of setting up displays like this was with steel pipes (which would probably have avoided last night’s disaster in Simi Valley), but the common usage mortar tube is now PVC or other plastic resin.  Like so:








Thanks to the LA Times, Larry Crump’s Fireworks Pages, and Reuters.

Geoff Short’s Gig Lab — A 4th of July Truss Flag!


This is pretty awesome for the Independence Day mid-week break!  Check out Geoff Short’s LED and truss-based American Flag!  It might not have as many stripes as are there, and there’s about twice the amount of stars, but if you’re a gear nerd, you’ll love this!

I, for example, am a gear nerd.

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy 234th Birthday, United States of America!


HAPPY 234th Birthday, America!  You’re looking a little rough around the edges lately, but I still love you so much.  I have been traveling all over the place lately, and I’m always glad to come home to you and share your land with my fellow citizens.

We have some work to do though, America.  Let’s quit not being a country full of geniuses and become a country full of geniuses!  We’re AMERICA!  Let’s act like it!

Okay.  Some things I’d like to see us do pretty soon:

  • Let’s stop using oil and gas and use electrical (or at least hybrid) transportation
  • Let’s stop using oil and coal to make light.  Instead, let’s use wind, wave, geothermal, and solar power!
  • Let’s start developing ways to reduce the amount of trash and waste we make, at the least through lighting
  • Let’s all get together and stop letting the people with all of the money crap on the rest of us.
  • Let’s stop being ridiculous around the world and be world leaders in art, architecture, design, and (especially) lighting!

I have a few very close friends who work for the United States Government and are spending this Fourth of July holiday thousands of miles from their families in a dangerous place with people shooting at them.  Let’s remember that, no matter what you feel about the wars we’re involved with or what you feel about the military, those people are our brothers, sisters, friends, and family.

This little bit of flat top picking is for those people NOT able to have a cold Shiner Bock this Fourth of July.  Let’s tip one (or several) for them today!  (Thanks for the video, Dad!)

More than anything, I have had enough fighting for a lifetime.  Fighting sucks!  Even though our birthday signifies independence and the “might” to be independent, I want to share my aspirations for us to be SO INTELLIGENT and GOOD AT THINGS OTHER THAN FIGHTING that we can be independent without needing to try to kick other people’s butts.  Let’s not be bullies, America – let’s be leaders!  When we exercise our thought muscle, we don’t need to show our guns.

Jiddu Krishnamurti once said:

“We all want to be famous people, and the moment we want to be something, we are no longer free.”

America, we rock.  Let’s join hands with the rest of the world and all rock together!