One injured during fireworks safety demonstration
Laura Barros didn’t mince words.
“It hurts,” the assistant executive director of the Mount Prospect-based Illinois Fire Safety Alliance said after suffering a third-degree burn during a fireworks safety demonstration at the group’s offices Tuesday.
Barros was eventually transported to a nearby hospital for treatment of a blackened burn mark the size of a quarter atop her left foot, the result of scalding when fireworks shrapnel landed on her. She is expected to be treated and released.
Seemingly more embarrassed by the irony of the situation than agonized over the burn, Barros gamely showed off her foot to members of the media as she was having the injury attended to.
The accident happened as Hillside Fire Chief Michael Kuryla, president of the Cook County Fire Chiefs Association, was demonstrating the power of fireworks that are illegal to have in Illinois, but readily available for purchase in Indiana and Wisconsin.
“We did not mean to hurt anyone and this is a clear example of how very dangerous these fireworks are,” Kuryla said.
Kuryla placed two fireworks mortars with multiple shells on a wooden pallet and lit the fuses as part of the demonstration. However, the power of the blasts started to move the mortars and eventually they tipped over in the slats of the pallet, aiming one toward the assembled media horde and other onlookers who were there for the demonstration. One of the firework’s final shells shot into the crowd and exploded amid the scrambling spectators. A piece of the exploded mortar landed atop Barros’ exposed foot, causing the burn.
Barros, who was wearing flip-flops, was the lone casualty of the accident.